After year-long hiatus, AAP back in Lok Sabha following Jalandhar win

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Sushil Kumar Rinku recorded a landslide victory by winning the Jalandhar Lok Sabha bypoll by 58,691 votes after he polled 3,02,279 votes. For the AAP, this victory means gaining one Lok Sabha seat since it has had no representative there since March 2022.

Now with the help of this victory, the AAP has once again got a chance to raise important issues in the Lower House of Parliament. There was no representation of the AAP in the Lok Sabha for the last one year. The party’s lone Lok Sabha MP Bhagwant Mann became the Chief Minister of Punjab in March 2022 after which he resigned from the MP post.

Mann was an MP from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat of Punjab. The by-election was held on this seat vacated by him in 2022, but the AAP suffered a major political setback.

The defeat in the 2022 Lok Sabha by-election was a severe blow to the AAP because the party’s representation in the Lok Sabha stood at zero. Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate Simranjit Singh Mann won the 2022 Sangrur Lok Sabha by-election by defeating AAP candidate Gurmail Singh on this seat.

The AAP believes that the victory in the Punjab Lok Sabha bypoll is a new beginning.

The party has started its political innings afresh in the Lok Sabha. In 2014, the AAP had MPs on four Lok Sabha seats, but in 2019 it managed victory only on one such seat.

The Punjab Chief Minister, who was present in Delhi on Saturday, said that now the voice of the people of Jalandhar will be heard vociferously in the Lok Sabha as the voice of Punjab.

“We have 92 MLAs in the Punjab Assembly and 63 MLAs in Delhi Assembly. Apart from this, there are five MLAs in the Gujarat Assembly and two in the Goa Assembly. Also, there are 10 MPs in the Rajya Sabha and one MP in the Lok Sabha from today. After becoming a national party, there is no such constitutional body of which we are not a part,” Mann added.

The Punjab CM said, “We (AAP) do not indulge in religion and caste-based politics. We were busy working on the 580 Mohalla clinics established in Punjab during the recently concluded Punjab by-elections. We were asking for votes from the people in the name of ‘School of Eminence’, zero electricity bill, infrastructure, etc. We were raising issues related to the welfare of traders, farmers and labourers.”

For the AAP, this bypoll victory is extremely crucial because Jalandhar was till now considered a bastion of the Congress. Congress MPs have been elected here continuously during the last five elections since 1999.

There are nine Assembly constituencies in the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat. The AAP, which became the single-largest party securing an emphatic majority during the 2022 Assembly elections, won only four out of nine seats while five seats were won by the Congress.

According to AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his party was trailing behind only in Jalandhar Central and Jalandhar North Lok Sabha seats. During last year’s Assembly elections, 42 per cent votes were polled in the whole of Punjab, while in Jalandhar only 28 per cent were polled, today this vote percentage has increased to 34 per cent.

“During the last year’s Assembly elections, we secured third place in four Assembly seats — Shahkot, Adampur, Phillaur and Jalandhar North. But today we have won three out of these four seats and secured second place on one seat,” he said.

“During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, we got only 2.5 per cent votes on the Jalandhar seat, but today we have secured 34 per cent votes,” Kejriwal added.

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