Simranjit Singh Mann, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate who won the bypoll from Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s home turf Sangrur, attributed his victory to extremist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and said he would raise the issues of “Indian Army’s atrocities in Kashmir” in parliament.
Mr Mann, who defeated the Aam Aadmi Party, or AAP, candidate, said he would also flag the “killing of tribal people in Bihar and Chhattisgarh calling them Naxalites”.
The Congress expressed concern over his election, with party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeting. “Democracy lost today in Sangrur”. “Punjab can’t be pushed back in the blind alley of violence and terrorism. If what is reported is true, Democracy lost today in Sangrur,” tweeted Mr Surjewala.
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill tweeted, “Result of Sangrur, Punjab bypolls must serve as an alarm bell for all the stakeholders of Punjab.”
Result of Sangrur, Punjab bypolls must serve as an alarm bell for all the stakeholders of Punjab.
— Jaiveer Shergill (@JaiveerShergill) June 26, 2022
“The mandate given by people is always supreme and this time it has tipped in favour of Simranjit Singh Mann. However, Mann’s ideology has proven toxic for Punjab and our nation in the past. His Khalistani agenda is a threat to the peace and integrity of Punjab and country,” tweeted Congress’s Ravneet Singh Bittu.
The mandate given by people is always supreme & this time it has tipped in favour of Simranjit Singh Mann. However, Mann’s ideology has proven toxic for Punjab & our Nation in the past. His Khalistani agenda is a threat to the peace & integrity of Punjab & Country.
— Ravneet Singh Bittu (@RavneetBittu) June 26, 2022
“It is a win of our party workers and of the teachings that Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale has given,” Mr Mann said after his victory today, invoking the Sikh extremist religious leader reportedly backed by Pakistan’s espionage agency Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI.
“The Sikh community is very upset with the death of Deep Singh Sidhu and Sidhu Moose Wala and now the Indian government will not behave in the same way that it is behaving with the Muslims, like their localities are being questioned, like the Indian Army is committing atrocities in Kashmir and killing Muslims on a daily basis,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“The tribal people in Bihar and Chhattisgarh are being shot dead calling them Naxalites. I will meet the candidate who is contesting for the presidential poll and discuss this,” Mr Mann said.
Mr Mann beat his AAP rival Gurmail Singh by a margin of over 5,800 votes from the Sangrur seat, pushing AAP out of the Lok Sabha.
The 77-year-old is a former MP and the president of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) – not related to the larger Shiromani Akali Dal. He was last elected from the same seat in 1999.