As the counting of votes was on, supporters of SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann Sunday kept on chanting Satnam Waheguru, standing on both sides of the verandah of his house near police lines in Sangrur. There were ups and downs — sometimes Mann and sometimes AAP’s Gurmel Singh was leading. “It is like a T20 match — exciting after every round. We will win for sure,” said Harpal Singh Baler, general secretary of SAD (Amritsar).
As the contest got intense, prayers got louder. The supporters were served tea and samosa but no one was interested in having the snacks. “Result aan to baad hi kha pavange (We will have tea after the results),” said Mohd Furkhan Quereshi, Malerkotla district president of SAD (Amritsar). He said, “This time, Muslims in Malerkotla supported Mann saab wholeheartedly. People had been supporting Congress and Akali Dal earlier. In the Vidhan Sabha polls, they even supported AAP. But they found AAP is the same. Hence, they decided to support Mann saab. They support his thoughts for minorities and Khalistan as well.”
“People had made traditional parties lose in February 2022 and AAP came out as one option for them at that time. When they did not deliver, the same party was shown the mirror just after four months. Punjab has chosen their own Panthic party. A win of Sangrur is a win of whole Punjab. Inqlabs do happen in Sangrur, the proof is before you all,” said Mandeep Kaur, a supporter of SAD (Amritsar), outside the Dhuri counting centre. When only 9,000 votes were left to be counted and Mann was leading with 7,052 votes, his supporters were still not ready to distribute ladoos. “Let the results be declared finally. We cannot take even one per cent chance,” said Jaswant Singh Cheema, SAD (Amritsar) leader.
It was 2 pm and Mann was declared winner by 5,822 votes. His supporters distributed laddoos, danced to dhol beats and raised slogans in favour of actor and activist Deep Sidhu, who died in February this year in a road accident, and slain singer Sidhu Moosewala. Mann stepped out of his house and took out a roadshow to pay obeisance at Mastuana Sahib Gurdwara and later take his certificate of victory. Apart from Sidhu Moosewala amar rahe and Deep Sindhu amar rahe, the other slogans went like this: Jo Bole So Nihaal, Sat Sri Akal and Allah-hu Akbar. The supporters also raised slogans in favour of Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale whose picture could be seen in the living room of Mann.
Former Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi said, “On the last day of campaign, Bhagwant Mann was seen hanging from the window of SUV while Kejriwal was standing through its sunroof during a roadshow in Barnala. People didn’t like this second-class treatment being met to their CM.”