Explained: Why ‘Khalistan-seeker’ Simranjit Mann won Sangrur
- Simranjit Mann won the Sangrur Lok Sabha bypolls
- He will be taking the place of Bhagwant Mann in Parliament
- Simranjit is reported to be sympathetic to the Khalistan cause
Simranjit Singh Mann, a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who quit the force in protest against Operation Blue Star, has dedicated his Sangrur bypoll victory to Khalistani separatist leader Jarnail Singh Bhrindanwale. Mann, who leads Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar, unrelated to the Shiromani Akali Dal, has pledged to raise questions on rights of minorities and Adivasis in Parliament.
The recently-elected Sangrur MP is reported to be sympathetic to the Khalistan cause. The Khalistan movement, a separatist movement intended to create a separate country for Sikhs, was crushed by the Indian state back in the 1980s. However, remnants of Khalistan movement never died away.
Over the last few years however, Khalistan symbols have returned to parts of Punjab and other neighbouring states. Simranjit Mann’s victory, therefore, is certainly a sign of the times.
Mann who dedicated his bypoll victory to Jarnail Singh Bhrindanwale, the leader of the Khalistan movement killed during Operation Blue Star, further spoke out on how the Indian state was behaving towards minorities. He further said the deaths of Sidhu Moose Wala and Deep Singh Sandhu have made a mark on the psyche of the people of Punjab.
Sangrur, from where Mann won the polls, is close to Moose Wala’s own village. Moose Wala was extremely popular in the region and his death had a deep impact. The Sangrur constituency was earlier represented in the Lok Sabha by Bhagwant Mann, the current chief minister of Punjab. It is his resignation as member of Parliament (MP) that triggered the current bypolls.
There is anger in the region over the Aam Admi Party (AAP) government paring down the security detail of Sidhu Moose Wala the day before he was murdered on the open road. Anger against AAP for failing to protect Moose Wala was one of the reasons behind Simranjit Mann’s victory.
Meanwhile, AAP’s Punjab unit has also faced trouble with regard to accessibility of local legislators. AAP workers and citizens have raised complaints that local lawmakers are nowhere to be found after the assembly polls. Further, the Indian Express reported that there was active concern over the choice of Rajya Sabha candidates.
Simranjit Mann returned to political relevance during the farmers’ agitation. He was able to build on the narrative of the Centre against Punjab and was able to fuel divisive anger.