Amidst the opposition heat over deteriorating law and order situation and the killing of famed singer Sidhu Moosewala, casting of votes for the bypoll of the Sangrur parliamentary constituency in the AAP-ruled Punjab began on Thursday.
The counting of ballots will take place on June 26.
A total of 15,69,240 voters will be exercising their franchise at 1,766 polling booths of which 296 are vulnerable.
The bypoll for AAP-stronghold Sangrur was necessitated following the resignation of Bhagwant Mann, who won the Assembly election in February from Dhuri constituency, and became the Chief Minister.
The AAP has fielded Mann’s confidant Gurmail Singh, 38, while death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana’s foster sister Kamaldeep Kaur, 44, is in the fray on the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) ticket.
The other key contenders are BJP’s Kewal Dhillon, 72, and Dalvir Singh Goldy, 40, of the Congress. Both are former legislators.
Mann had won his first election as Sangrur MP in 2014 with a record margin of over 2.10 lakh votes defeating SAD candidate Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.
In 2019 Mann was the lone AAP MP in Parliament and he had defeated the then Congress candidate Kewal Singh Dhillon by more than 1.1 lakh votes.
In the 2022 Assembly elections, AAP recorded a thumping win by claiming 92 of the Assembly’s 117 seats. The ruling Congress won 18, down from 77 in 2017.
Interestingly, all nine Vidhan Sabha constituencies coming under Sangrur parliamentary seat was won by AAP MLAs with a record mandate.