Punjab elections: AAP CM candidate Bhagwant Mann to fight from Dhuri
Takes on Congress MLA Dalvir Singh Goldy, SAD nominee Parkash Chand Garg and Sanyukt Samaj Morcha’s Sarabjit Singh Alal in Dhuri, which falls in his Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency
Aam Aadmi Party’s chief ministerial candidate and Punjab unit president Bhagwant Mann will fight the February 20 election from the Dhuri assembly constituency.
The announcement of Mann’s candidature from Dhuri, which falls in his Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, was made by Punjab affairs co-incharge Raghav Chadha in Mohali on Thursday. “Mann is a pan-Punjab leader and will campaign for party candidates across the state. We are the only party to go into the polls with a CM face,” Chadha said after announcing the state chief’s assembly seat. He also said that Mann and Kejriwal form a formidable team.
The AAP had named its candidates for 112 of the 117 segments in the state assembly till now, but all eyes were on his seat. The declaration came two days after the party named Mann as its CM face in the state.
The Congress has already announced sitting MLA Dalvir Singh Goldy as its candidate, whereas former Sangrur MLA Parkash Chand Garg is in the fray from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
The Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, an outfit floated by 19 farmer organisations, has named former sarpanch and farm activist Sarabjit Singh Alal as its candidate.
The fifth player, the BJP and its alliance partners, former CM Capt Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress and the SAD (Sanyukt), are yet to announce their candidate.
Mann is a two-time MP from Sangrur and led his rivals from the Congress and the SAD in Dhuri by impressive margins on both occasions.
The AAP state chief, who first won the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat in 2014, got 63,189, or 55% of the total 1,15,766 votes polled, leading his nearest rival SAD’s Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who now heads the SAD-Sanyukt, by 33,937 votes with the Congress pushed to the third position.
In 2019, Mann led Kewal Singh Dhillon of the Congress by 24,071 votes, but his percentage share in the total votes polled in Dhuri dropped to 45.
The assembly seat having 1.63 lakh voters has been changing hands since 1997, with the Congress and Independent candidates winning two times each and the SAD emerging victorious once.
Mann has fought assembly elections twice earlier, losing both times. In his debut election in 2012, Mann was defeated by former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal of the Congress in Lehra assembly constituency. Then, the AAP leader took on SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal in the latter’s stronghold of Jalalabad in the 2017 state polls and finished second ahead of Congress’ Ravneet Singh Bittu, now MP from Ludhiana.