Bathinda urban maintains 30-yr-old tradition of not electing MLA for second time
A veteran politician and party hopper, Congress nominee Manpreet Singh Badal was defeated by a huge margin of 63,581 votes by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Jagroop Gill in Bathinda urban
Choosing a political greenhorn, Jagroop Gill, over five-time MLA and Congress nominee Manpreet Singh Badal, electors of Bathinda urban have maintained a 30-year-old trend of not electing a candidate twice.
A veteran politician and party hopper, Manpreet was defeated by a huge margin of 63,581 votes by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate.
It was the highest-ever margin of victory from this urban seat, according to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
According to the ECI data, since 1992, the seat has not seen an MLA getting a second term.
In 1992, Congress candidate Surinder Kapoor won by a margin of 5,880 against Joginder Singh of the Communist Party of India (CPI).
Kapoor, who was earlier elected in 1980, failed to retain the seat in the state elections held in 1997. The Congress strongman was defeated by Chiranji Lal Garg of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) by 24,381 votes.
In 2002, Garg was fielded again but he lost to Congress candidate Surinder Singla by 13,413 votes.
Then Congress fielded two-time MLA Harminder Singh Jassi in 2007 and he managed to win the Bathinda seat by defeating the Akali leader Sarup Chand Singla by 14,645 votes.
But in the next elections held in 2012, it was Singla’s turn and he defeated Jassi in a close contest. Singla had won by 6,645 votes.
In 2017, Manpreet Badal, who had joined the Congress after merging his People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) with the Congress fold in 2011, won from Bathinda by defeating AAP’s Deepak Bansal by 18,480 votes. Ex-MLA and SAD’s Singla had finished third.
But this time, Manpreet was facing strong anti-incumbency for his role as a finance minister and legislator. Government employees’ unions and pensioners were rallying against the then finance minister for the lack of will to hike their financial benefits. Farmer unions, too, are regularly holding protests in his constituency against delay in disbursement of compensation to cotton growers whose crop was damaged due to pink bollworm infestation.
Manpreet, who had won the Gidderbaha seat four times on SAD ticket earlier, faced a humiliating defeat from a rookie this time.
Gill was associated with the Congress for over 25 years but left the party last year after he his relations with Manpreet turned sour. Gill’s grouse was that his seniority for the post of mayor was overlooked at the behest of Manpreet.