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Elections

AAP leads with huge margin of about 50,000 votes in multi-cornered Jalandhar bypoll

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS5 | May 13, 2023 12:02 PM

CHANDIGARH: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is leading by nearly 50000 votes in the Jalandhar Lok Sabha bypoll from its nearest rival the Congress, according to early trends from the counting of votes on Saturday.

The AAP's Sushil Rinku is leading from his nearest rival and Congress candidate Karamjit Kaur.

The party got 243285 votes, while the Congress had 194805 votes by 11 a.m.

The BJP was third with 120913 votes, and the Akali-BSP combine was on the fourth place with 117331 votes.

Counting of ballots for a four-cornered fierce contest for the Jalandhar parliamentary reserved seat in state's Dalit-dominated Doaba region, a traditional Congress bastion, is underway.

A voter turnout of over 54 per cent, decline from 63.04 per cent in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, was recorded on Wednesday.

There were 16, 21, 800 voters in nine Assembly segments under the parliamentary constituency.

After the Sangrur debacle, the Jalandhar bypoll is seen as the litmus test for the state 13-month-old AAP. It has fielded Rinku, a former Congress MLA from the seat.

While the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bahujan Samaj Party (SAD-BSP) combine has fielded Sukhwinder Kumar Sukhi, the BJP has given the ticket to Akali turncoat and former legislator Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal.

A total of 19 candidates are in the fray.

Deputy Commissioner Jaspreet Singh said for the ballot count 20 counting teams, comprising one counting observer, one assistant, and one micro-observer have been deployed at each counting centre.

The bypoll is necessitated with the death of Congress MP Santokh Chaudhary due to a heart attack while taking part in the Punjab leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra of party leader Rahul Gandhi in January.

The Congress, with which the seat remained undefeated since 1999, has fielded Chaudhary's widow Karamjit Kaur as the candidate,

In June 2022, AAP had witnessed a major setback when SAD (Amritsar)'s Simranjit Singh Mann won the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat after defeating his nearest rival, AAP's Gurmail Singh, by a slender margin.

The Sangrur constituency was once a stronghold of AAP. Bhagwant Mann had represented this seat twice -- 2014 and 2019.

He had vacated the seat after winning the Assembly election in February 2022 from Dhuri and became the Chief Minister.

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