Chandigarh, May 13 (). In Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday won the Jalandhar Lok Sabha bypoll by defeating its nearest rival Congress by a huge margin of 58,691 votes. Jalandhar was a stronghold of the Congress for 24 years.
Congress rebel and AAP candidate Sushil Rinku has defeated Santokh Chowdhary’s wife Karamjit Kaur. Chowdhary had died during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, due to which the seat was vacant.
For the first time since 1999, the Congress has faced defeat on this seat. In the last five decades, the Congress has lost elections on this seat only four times.
This state marks the re-entry of the AAP unit into the Lok Sabha. Earlier Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was AAP’s first and only Lok Sabha MP. He resigned from the Parliament after being elected as an MLA in the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections. His party could not retain the seat vacated by him in the previous by-elections.
AAP got 3,02,097 votes while Congress got 2,43,450 votes. The Akali-BSP alliance came third with 1,58,354 votes and the BJP fourth with 1,34,706 votes. The Jalandhar parliamentary reserved seat falls in the Dalit-dominated Doaba region of the state.
AAP candidate Rinku enjoys good support in the Dalit community. The constituency has 42 per cent Dalit population. Accepting defeat, state Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Waring congratulated the Aam Aadmi Party and its candidate Sushil Rinku.
He wrote in tweeting that we humbly accept the mandate of the people! I thank the party workers, volunteers, supporters and the entire @INCPunjab leadership for the hard work and efforts put in by them for the Hashtag Jalandhar bypolls. I congratulate Sushil Rinku and AAP party for the victory.
Describing the unprecedented victory because of the good work of the Bhagwant Mann government, CM Kejriwal said, “We do politics of work and seek votes from people for our work and people have stamped Bhagwant Mann.” The work of the government is saying that we are with you, this is a big message.
Chief Minister Mann said that this result is the result of the development work done by the AAP government in Punjab. Kejriwal and Mann campaigned extensively in Jalandhar, appealing to voters that the AAP government has only been in office for a year, and should be given another 11 months before the next Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
A political observer says that the Jalandhar bypoll was a do-or-die battle for Chief Minister Mann. An observer told , AAP’s victory stamps the administrative and leadership qualities of Mann as well as creating a national narrative as a challenger.
In the 2022 assembly elections, the Congress had won five of the nine seats in the Jalandhar parliamentary seat, while the AAP won the remaining seats.