With just five days left to file nominations for Sangrur Lok Sabha by-election, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is finding itself on the defensive after the murder of singer-turned-politician Shubhdeep Singh alias Sidhu Moosewala.
The last date of filing of nominations is June 6 and election is scheduled for June 23. AAP was preparing to win the seat, which was vacated by CM Bhagwant Mann, by a record margin and convey a message of its popularity. Only three months ago, the party had recorded a massive win in the Assembly elections by bagging 92 of 117 seats.
While Sangrur SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu is pushing for the party for a ticket from Sangrur, other leaders, including Sunam MLA Aman Arora and Punjabi actor Karamjit Anmol are also in the reckoning.
“While some quarters feel that we should field Aman Arora, who is a Hindu, others feel that an actor and also an aide of Mann, Karamjit Anmol, should be fielded. We are making suggestions to the party seniors. Let us see what they do. As the candidates of SAD and SAD (Amritsar) would be Sikhs, fielding a Hindu will be better,” a source privy to discussions said.
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The sentiment among several party leaders is now gaining ground that Moosewala’s murder, especially after pruning of his security, could cast a shadow on the results.
“It is not about winning the election for us. It is like a cakewalk for us. But it is about having a good margin. We are working towards that. Though there are concerns that the mandate may not get affected. It is just that we were expecting to poll 5 lakh votes,” a party MLA said, adding that “One cannot say anything. Before Vidhan Sabha elections, all political experts said that the death of activist Deep Sidhu will affect the results but nothing happened.”
Sources said that for Aman Arora, who was a sitting MLA, contesting a LS bypoll was not a good bet. He was ignored by Mann when he inducted ministers in his Cabinet. Now, there are eight vacancies in the Cabinet. “He is obviously hopeful. Also, he is a senior MLA. Let us see. If the party directs anyone, he will have to contest. The name will be decided within two-three days,” a source said.
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