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Who Is Simranjit Singh Mann, The Khalistan Advocate Who Won Sangrur Lok Sabha By-Poll
Dubbed 'Budda Jarnail' by some of his critics, 77-year-old former IPS officer Mann had recently insisted that he may have grown old but couldn't be written off just yet, and his assertion proved prophetic on Sunday.
Chandigarh: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has lost Punjab’s Sangrur parliamentary constituency, vacated by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, to Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president and Khalistan ideologue Simranjit Singh Mann, marking his first electoral victory in 23 years. Dubbed ‘Budda Jarnail’ by some of his critics, 77-year-old former IPS officer Mann had recently insisted that he may have grown old but couldn’t be written off just yet, and his assertion proved prophetic on Sunday.
Mann defeated his nearest rival, AAP’s Gurmail Singh, by a margin of 5,822 votes, dealing a big blow to the ruling party of Punjab which had registered a landslide win in the state polls three months ago and was hoping to retain the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat for the third time. Incidentally, Mann’s last election win in 1999 was also from the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency.
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Speaking to reporters in Sangrur after his win, the SAD (Amritsar) leader said, “Many used to laugh, saying what will Simranjit Singh Mann do. They have been proven wrong today.”
Mann also thanked the voters for his victory, and said, “I am grateful to the voters of Sangrur for having elected me as their representative in Parliament. I will work hard to ameliorate the sufferings of our farmers, farm labourers, traders and everyone in my constituency,”
Who Is Simranjit Singh Mann?
- Born in Shimla in 1945, Mann studied at Bishop Cotton School and completed his graduation from a government college in Chandigarh.
- He joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1967 and held various posts including superintendent of police (Vigilance), SP (Headquarters), senior superintendent of police (SSP), Ferozepur; SSP Faridkot and group commandant of Central Industrial Security Force.
- Mann has been a proponent of Khalistan and has been raising issues of Sikhs and minorities at different forums.
- Every year on June 6, he and his supporters gather inside the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar and raise pro-Khalistan slogans to mark the anniversary of Operation Bluestar. (Operation Bluestar was carried out by the Indian Army in June 1984 to flush out militants hiding in the Golden Temple complex.)
- Mann had resigned from the IPS in 1984 following Operation Bluestar.
- He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Tarn Taran in 1989 and Sangrur in 1999.
- The SAD (Amritsar) has been trying its luck in the Punjab Assembly polls but in vain. Mann had contested the 2022 Assembly polls from the Amargarh seat and was defeated by the AAP’s Jaswant Singh Gajjanmajra by a margin of 6,043 votes.
About Sangrur Lok Sabha seat
The Sangrur Lok Sabha seat was considered an AAP bastion. The party had won all the nine assembly segments — Lehra, Dirba, Barnala, Sunam, Bhadaur, Mehal Kalan, Malerkotla, Dhuri and Sangrur — falling under the Sangrur parliamentary constituency in the 2022 state polls.
Senior AAP leader and incumbent chief minister Bhagwant Mann had won the Sangrur seat in the general elections in 2014 and 2019.
The main plank of the SAD (Amritsar) president’s campaign for the Sangrur Assembly bypoll was to secure the release of Sikh prisoners lodged in jails even after the completion of their sentences. He received massive support, especially from rural areas including Muslim-majority Malerkotla.
Before Mann filed his nomination papers for the Sangrur bypoll, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, along with other leaders, had met him and urged him to support a candidate from the family of a Sikh prisoner. Mann, however, rejected the request.
Badal’s party had fielded Kamaldeep Kaur, the sister of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s assassination case, in the Sangrur bypoll.