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Humiliating defeat for AAP in Punjab 2 years after landslide victory

Chandigarh: In a humiliating defeat to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab two years after its landslide victory, its Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and party’s national convener, Arvind Kejriwal, set an ambitious target of winning all 13 Lok Sabha seats on Tuesday and won just three seats, with four of five cabinet ministers failing to secure victories.

However, it improved its 2019 performance when it managed to win a lone seat.

Instead, the main Opposition Congress, which was at the helm between 2017 and 2022, won seven seats, while Independents won two and the Shiromani Akali Dal won one seat.

The BJP, which has won two seats in alliance with SAD in 2019, was blank in 2024.

Except for minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer (Sangrur), all four ministers — Health Minister Balbir Singh (Patiala), Agriculture Minister Gurmeet Singh Khuddian (Bathinda), NRI Affairs Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal (Amritsar), and Transport Minister Laljit Singh Bhullar from Khadoor Sahib — lost the elections. Also its three legislators lost the parliamentary poll.

Political observers told IANS that the party was banking heavily on its populist schemes, like the free power of 300 units a month to each household, free Aam Aadmi mohalla clinics, 43,000 government jobs, the repair of canals and the establishment of schools of eminence.

However, the only saving grace for AAP was to win Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s bastion Sangrur this time.

The Congress INDIA ally AAP, which had decided to go solo in Lok Sabha polls, won only three seats. The other AAP two candidates who won the poll were Malwinder Singh Kang (Anandpur Sahib) and Raj Kumar Chabbewal (Hoshiarpur- reserved).

In a last-minute bid just hours before the campaigning for 13 parliamentary seats come to an end, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal campaigned with the state counterpart for party candidate Hayer.

Both led a road show with the AAP candidate from Sangrur and appealed to the people to make Meet Hayer MP with record votes with a message: “If we have 13 MPs from Punjab, then all of them will become Bhagwant Mann’s hands and voice in the Parliament.”

Addressing the people, Kejriwal had said Sangrur is the home constituency of Chief Minister Mann.

“You have made him the Chief Minister. This time too, we have a lot of expectations from you. Therefore, make AAP candidate Meet Hayer win here with the highest margin.”

Surprisingly, in a setback to AAP in June 2022, just three months after coming to power, the two-time MP and former IPS officer, Simranjit Singh Mann, who has been demanding an independent homeland — called Khalistan — won the bypoll in the Sangrur Parliamentary constituency.

Speaking at the roadshow amidst the blistering heat wave, Kejriwal had said: “You elect us with a record majority in the assembly elections. You gave 92 out of 117 MLAs to the Aam Aadmi Party. Now strengthen us in the Lok Sabha, so that we can easily get Punjab’s work done from the central government and get all the pending funds of Punjab released”.


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