The kind of response Jyoti Mann (27), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nominee from Jalandhar and also its youngest in Punjab, is getting may upset the poll arithmetic of the candidates belonging to the SAD-BJP and the Congress.
Banking on an unexpected response the AAP garnered across Punjab during its election campaign and anti-incumbency factor against the SAD-BJP regime, Mann's background from the numerically dominant Balmiki community could provide her an edge or at least get a lion share of votes.
Even as there are five lesser-known candidates from the community also in the fray, Maan is the only prominent face being discussed everywhere, particularly in the Balmiki-dominated areas.
Of a total of 15.4 lakh votes in the constituency, the community has a sizeable chunk of over 1.75 lakh votes, next only to the Ravidassia Adharmi community with 3.94 lakh votes.
SAD-BJP candidate Pawan Kumar Tinu, Congress nominee Santokh Chaudhary and BSP's Sukhwinder Kotli belong to the Ravidassia community.
Even as Mann was being considered one of the weakest candidates of AAP in Punjab initially, her campaign has picked up gradually making her the most discussed candidate in Jalandhar and the poll strategists of SAD-BJP and Congress are guessing how mnay votes she fetches.
Political pundits say the AAP first-timer may eat a major vote share of the Congress, BJP and the BSP acting as a big spoilsport.
The SAD, however, claims the AAP will help soften the anti-incumbency factor against it and also reduce a possible negative impression in the Balmiki community against the party.
SAD that was the outcome of the party deciding to change its candidate from community leader and singer Hans Raj Hans to the new face Tinu. Hans has also opposed this move but has later calm down after interference of deputy CM Sukhbir Badal.