Key test for Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann in Jalandhar West Assembly bypoll : The Tribune India

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Key test for Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann in Jalandhar West Assembly bypoll

To set tone for upcoming byelections in 4 Punjab Assembly segments

Key test for Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann in Jalandhar West Assembly bypoll

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann and AAP candidate Mohinder Bhagat.



Tribune News Service

Deepkamal Kaur

Jalandhar, July 8

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann pulled out all the stops in the Jalandhar West Assembly bypoll campaign, which ended today, turning it into a prestige battle both for himself and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party.

State Congress chief Amrinder Raja Warring with party nominee Surinder Kaur during compaigning in Jalandhar. Malkiat Singh

In this crucial battle, other parties too put in their best efforts as its result is likely to have a bearing on the forthcoming byelections slated to be announced soon for the Gidderbaha, Barnala, Dera Baba Nanak and Chabbewal Assembly segments.

During his campaign, CM Mann, who even rented a house in the city on June 24, went ward-to-ward and addressed almost four public rallies on a daily basis. He took it upon himself to spearhead the campaign as he wanted to take on former MLA Sheetal Angural and former MP Sushil Rinku, both of whom left the ruling AAP, severely denting its prospects in the recently held Lok Sabha elections, pushing it to a distant third position in Jalandhar.

AAP could get just 15,000 votes in the Jalandhar West segment, while the Congress got over 44,000 and the BJP stood second with almost 42,000 votes.

Mann’s presence has made it a close contest between AAP’s Mohinder Bhagat, Congress’ Surinder Kaur and BJP’s Sheetal Angural. Both Bhagat and Angural had contested against each another in 2022, but this time they have swapped their parties. Angural had quit as AAP MLA in March this year and joined the BJP. Son of former minister Bhagat Chunni Lal, Mohinder Bhagat had left the BJP last year to join AAP as its halqa in-charge. Surinder Kaur, a four-time councillor and Senior Deputy Mayor, is in the fray for the first time.

While AAP had its eight ministers and MLAs from across the state holding the charge in each of the 23 wards, the Congress had deployed its army of senior leaders, including PCC chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring and his wife Amrita Warring, Leader of Opposition Partap Bajwa, Jalandhar MP Charanjit Singh Channi, Congress campaign in-charge Rana KP Singh, and MPs Dharamvira Gandhi, Amar Singh and Gurjeet Aujla. Angural, who attacked Mann alleging extortion by party leaders and promoting gambling and betting in the area, has kept the voters waiting for the release of some “audio evidence” of his charges. This gave the Congress a chance to attack both AAP and BJP claiming they have an “understanding” with each other.

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#Aam Aadmi Party AAP #Bhagwant Mann #Congress


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