Battle for the Sangrur bypoll is heating up with Punjab Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Bhagwant Mann’s planned roadshows in support of party’s candidate Gurmail Singh amid Opposition blaming the AAP-led state government for the alleged deterioration of law and order.
The Sangrur bypoll is slated to take place on June 23, necessitated by the resignation of the incumbent AAP MP Mann after he became the CM in March, is taking place in the backdrop of popular Punjabi singer and Congress leader Sidhu Moose Wala’s murder in state’s Mansa district on May 29.
An AAP stronghold, the Sangrur parliamentary constituency has nine Assembly segments, which are not far from Mansa, Moose Wala’s home district.
Moose Wala becomes theme song for Congress
While the Congress kicked off its campaign on June 9 for the Sangrur bypoll – for which the party has declared Dalvir Singh Goldy as its candidate – after the “bhog” of Sidhu Moose Wala which took place on June 8, following the release of its campaign video song featuring the body of Moose Wala, the AAP has accused the Congress of “politicising” the death of the Punjabi singer.
On June 12, the Congress released a campaign video song for Sangrur, 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]”, which showed Moose Wala’s body and also the memorial site where the singer was cremated.
The song takes a swipe at the ruling AAP’s “Ek mauka (one chance)” slogan used by the party in its campaign for the assembly poll this year that it swept.
All political parties raking up the issue
With the killing raising questions over the law and order situation in the state, all political parties are now raking up the issue in the campaign.
Sensing that the issue could hurt it badly in the polls, the AAP has begun to carry out damage control.
On Monday, it 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.
The AAP sources said they have been deputed in different Assembly segments that fall under the Sangrur Parliamentary constituency.
The move came as Bharatiya Janata Party-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.
Release of ‘Bandi Singhs’ is SAD’s sole campaign issue
As the Congress, BJP and AAP are battling it out over the issue of law and order in the state, the release of ‘Bandi Singhs’ or Sikh prisoners, who have been lodged in various jails for many years, is the sole campaign issue of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).
Notably, Akali Dal Sangrur candidate Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana’s brother Balwant Singh Rajoana is a convict in the assassination of former Punjab CM Beant Singh and has been lodged in the Patiala jail.
The party has chosen to focus on the Bandi Singhs issue despite the prevalence of a range of issues
When asked why the SAD has been campaigning on a single issue, Kamaldeep said, ”In this bypoll, our fight is against injustice. No doubt, there are many other issues as well… but we are taking this plank to people of all religions as it is a fight for all those who have been languishing in jails even after completing their terms – my brother Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana is one among them,” The Indian Express reported.