Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president and ‘Khalistan’ proponent Simranjit Singh Mann, who won the Lok Sabha by-elections from Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s home turf Sangrur on Sunday, attributed his victory to Khalistani militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
“It is a win of our party workers and of the teachings that Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale has given,” the SAD-A president said invoking the Khalistani militant reportedly backed by Pakistan’s espionage agency ISI.
Answering a TV reporter’s question on his victory, Simranjit Mann recalled the death of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and others during Operation Blue Star at Amritsar’s Golden Temple in 1984. Mann had quit the Indian Police Service in protest over the Army operation to flush out militants from the shrine.
Speaking with reporters, Mann dedicated his victory to the people of Sangrur, to the late actor-activist Deep Sidhu and singer Moosewala, “who gave their blood for the Sikh community”.
He claimed his victory will have repercussions on Indian politics, and recalled how people had laughed at his failure to win elections over several years. He had also unsuccessfully contested the recent assembly polls.
“I am grateful to our voters of Sangrur for having elected me as your representative in Parliament. I will work hard to ameliorate the sufferings of our farmers, farm labourers, traders and everyone in my constituency, he said.
Mann said he would raise the issues of “Indian Army’s atrocities in Kashmir” in Parliament. He also said he would flag the “killing of tribal people in Bihar and Chhattisgarh calling them naxalites”.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president had last won the same seat in 1999. His earlier parliamentary victory was in 1989 from Tarn Taran, when he created a row insisting that he should be allowed entry into the House with a sword, saying this was a Sikh’s right.
Congress candidate Dalvir Singh Goldy took the third spot after AAP in the results declared Sunday. BJP’s Kewal Dhillon and SAD’s Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana followed. Goldy polled 79,668 votes, Dhillon 66,298 and Kaur 44,428, all three of them losing their security deposits.
Expressing displeasure over Mann’s victory, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “Democracy lost today in Sangrur”. “Punjab can’t be pushed back in the blind alley of violence and terrorism. If what is reported is true, Democracy lost today in Sangrur,” he said.
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill tweeted, “Result of Sangrur, Punjab bypolls must serve as an alarm bell for all the stakeholders of Punjab.”