Sangrur bypoll: Repeating Punjab win an uphill task for AAP as Sidhu Moosewala’s killing becomes focus of Congress’ poll plank

An AAP stronghold, the Sangrur parliamentary constituency has nine Assembly segments, which are not far from Mansa, Moosewala’s home district.

An AAP stronghold, the Sangrur parliamentary constituency has nine Assembly segments, which are not far from Mansa, Moosewala’s home district.

Before May 29, the Sangrur bypolls seemed a cakewalk for the ruling Aam Aadmi Party. But the political scenario changed upside down for Arvind Kejriwal’s party following the killing of singer-politician Sidhu Moosewala. 

The incident has not only pushed the AAP government on backfoot over the law and order situation in the border state, but has made the going tough for the party to retain the seat left vacant by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann after he won from Dhuri constituency. 

The incident has become the focus on all the electoral campaign of all parties for the June 23 bypolls. 

Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, last week kicked off party’s bypoll campaign after observing 2 minutes’ silence in the memory of the slain singer. 

While Warring among the first of the politicians to visit Moosewala’s family in Mansa district, a battery of other Congress leaders followed him, extending support to the victim family and launching an aggressive attack on the Mann government. 

On June 12, the Congress released a campaign video song, titled “Ek mauka piya bhari es vaar deo apne Goldy nu jimmevari (one chance has cost us dear, this time give responsibility to our Goldy)”, in the constituency, which shows Moosewala’s dead body and even the memorial site where he was cremated.

The song takes a swipe at the AAP’s “Ek mauka (one chance)” slogan that the party used successfully in its campaign for the Assembly polls that the party swept. 

In their speeches at various campaign rallies, the Congress leaders keep making references to Moosewala’s killing. In his speech at a rally in Sangrur’s Panwa village, Warring said Moosewala had been facing a threat but despite that the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government pruned his security that eventually, he charged, led to his murder.

Meanwhile, BJP-backed candidate Kewal Singh Dhillon and Akali Dal candidate Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana have been aggressively campaigning for the by-election to the Lok Sabha seat.

The Sangrur bypoll has been necessitated by the resignation of the incumbent AAP MP Mann after he became the Chief Minister in March. An AAP stronghold, the Sangrur parliamentary constituency has nine Assembly segments, which are not far from Mansa, Moosewala’s home district.

Anticipating that the issue could hurt its poll prospects, the AAP has rushed carry out damage control in Sangrur. It has deputed a battery of ministers to the constituency to battle the onslaught from opposition parties. Those dispatched included ministers Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, Brahm Shankar Jimpa, Dr Baljit Kaur, Harbhajan Singh ETO, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer and Laljit Singh Bhullar.

Trying to woo the electorate with its “aam aadmi” image, the AAP has given ticket to a low-profile candidate Gurmail Singh Gharachaon.

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