Deputy CM and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal has won the Jalalabad Assembly seat consecutively for the third time, this time defeating his nearest rival AAP’s Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann by a margin or 18,500 votes. Of the total of 1,69,049 votes polled in the rural constituency of Jalalabad, located near to the India-Pakistan international border, Badal bagged 75,271 votes, Mann 56,771 and Congress candidate and Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu 31,539. As many as 1,112 electors opted for NOTA (None Of The Above). There were 11 candidates.
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Though Badal managed to retain the seat, his winning margin drastically reduced from 50,246 in 2012 to 18,500 this time. In 2009 bypoll, when Badal first contested from Jalalabad, his winning margin was of 80,662 votes. Badal was appointed Deputy CM in 2009 after winning the bypoll.
This time, Badal was pitted in Jalalabad against two sitting Lok Sabha MPs, comedian-cum-actor-turned politician Mann and Bittu, the grandson of slain Punjab CM Beant Singh, making it difficult to predict the outcome.
Things had gone more complicated with the strong emergence of AAP in the Malwa belt, which includes Jalalabad, and the anti-incumbency wave against the SAD-BJP government that had been ruling the state for the past decade.
In the run-up to polls, Mann drew huge crowds and was even being considered by AAP as one of its probable candidates for the Chief Minister’s post in case the party came to power.