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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The mobile repair shop owner who defeated Channi

A 35-year-old who studied up to Class 12 before learning to repair mobiles and opening a shop, the father of two proved a quick learner.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |
Updated: March 10, 2022 5:54:27 pm
Labh Singh UgokeLabh Singh Ugoke. (Express photo)

A village mobile repair shop owner from Ugoke village in Barnala district, Labh Singh had found himself in one of the most high-profile contests of this Punjab election when news came that facing the Aam Aadmi Party candidate from the Bhadaur Assembly constituency will be Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. On Thursday, he was among the AAP giant killers of this Punjab election.

Bhadaur was the second seat from where Channi contested, apart from Chamkaur Sahib.

A reserved constituency, Bhadaur had been won by AAP in 2017 too, along with the nearby constituencies of Dirba, Barnala and Mehal Kalan, in the Malwa belt. AAP Bharaur candidate Pirmal Singh Dhaula had won comprehensively, beating the Akali Dal runner-up by over 20,000 votes, garnering 44.14% of the votes.

Proving this support was not a fluke, AAP had also won the Lok Sabha election from Sangrur under which Bhadaur falls in 2019. In the Bharaur Assembly segment alone, AAP’s Bhagwant Singh Mann had a 10,000-vote lead over his rival.

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To Labh Singh’s credit, he worked hard on the ground. A 35-year-old who studied up to Class 12 before learning to repair mobiles and opening a shop, the father of two proved a quick learner. After joining AAP full-time, he rose from the ranks, from halka in-charge, to block and circle president.

In the affidavit that he filed along with his nomination, he listed a Hero Honda 2014 motorcycle as his asset.

Labh Singh was also under consideration for a ticket in the 2017 Assembly polls before AAP decided to go with Dhaula, who has a strong presence among some worker unions in the area.

Expressing confidence in his win, Labh Singh had told The Indian Express: “My logic is simple. Had the CM done any development work in his own constituency of Chamkaur Sahib, he would not have had to shift to another seat.”

The son of a driver, Labh Singh talked about his humble background and said he was “fully committed to AAP”. “I am associated with the party since 2013 when the party came to Punjab.”

Senior AAP MLA and Leader of Opposition, Harpal Singh Cheema, who fought from neighbouring Dirba, had said: “This young man, Labh Singh, who lives in a two-room house with his family, will defeat the CM.”

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