By-polls: BJP breaches SP strongholds; Cong saves grace in Tripura, Mann shocks AAP in Punjab

In what comes as a shock for the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh by-polls, BJP has one both Rampur and Azamgarh MP seats – considered to the stronghold of Akhilesh Yadav led party.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Sudip Roy Barman has saved Congress from embarrassment as he was the lone candidate to win by-polls in Tripura while the other three seats are won by the BJP in the state. The Congress was decimated in Delhi and Punjab while the party did not contest the UP Lok Sabha bypolls.

In Jharkhand, Congress has registered a win in the bypoll increasing the party’s tally in the state. Shilpi Neha Tirkey has won but the party lost in Andhra Pradesh with YSRCP sweeping the polls.

The Congress could not win the Sangrur bypoll despite AAP losing the battle with SAD(A) winning the seat.

In Sangrur, the bypoll was necessitated following the resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann from Lok Sabha after he was elected as an MLA. Mann had won the Sangrur seat in the last two parliamentary elections in 2014 and 2019.

Bypolls were held in four assembly seats in Tripura: Agartala, Jubarajnagar, Surma and Town Bordowali. Chief Minister Manik Saha contested from Town Bordowali and has won.

Other three assembly constituencies are Rajinder Nagar in Delhi where AAP defeated BJP, Mandar in Jharkhand which was won by the Congress, and Atmakuru in Andhra Pradesh won by the YSRCP.

Meanwhile, in a setback to AAP, which came to power in Punjab three months ago, the two-time MP and former IPS officer, Simranjit Singh Mann, who has been demanding an independent homeland — called Khalistan — on Sunday won the bypoll in the Sangrur parliamentary constituency.

This seat, once a stronghold of AAP, will now be represented by Mann after over two decades.

As per poll results, Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar (SAD-A) candidate Mann defeated his closest rival Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Gurmail Singh in a neck-and-neck battle by over 6,000 votes, with the former leading in the majority of the rounds, including Muslim-dominated Malerkotla Assembly seat.

Mann, 77, who unsuccessfully contested the Assembly polls in February, won the parliamentary elections from Sangrur in 1999.

Mann, has been demanding the opening of borders with Pakistan for traders, is toeing the ideology of Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was killed during Operation Blue Star that was carried out by the Indian Army in June 1984 to flush out militants hiding in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.

After winning the election, Mann remembered the contribution of Bhindranwale towards the Sikh cause. He gave the credit of his win to those who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the Sikhs.

Mann remembered the contribution of actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu, accused of being the key conspirator of the Red Fort violence on the Republic Day last year, and slain singer Sidhu Moosewala, who met him days ahead of his killing on May 29.

Just 45.3 per cent voters — 27.1 per cent less than the 2019 elections — cast their franchise to decide the fate of 16 candidates on June 23.

The bypoll for Sangrur was necessitated following the resignation of Bhagwant Mann, who won the Assembly election in February from the Dhuri constituency, and became the Chief Minister.

The other key contenders were death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana’s foster sister Kamaldeep Kaur, 44, who was in the fray on the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) ticket, BJP’s Kewal Dhillon, 72, and Dalvir Singh Goldy, 40, of the Congress. Both Dhillon and Goldy are former legislators.

Simranjit Mann has declared Rs 8.37 crore assets, including Rs 35.38 moveable and Rs 8.02 immovable. His wife’s assets stand at Rs 4.88 crore.

The bypoll is the first major electoral battle after the AAP’s resounding victory in the state Assembly polls. – INDIA NEWS STREAM

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