Radical preacher Amritpal Singh and son of Indira Gandhi's assassin win LS polls as Independents

Political greenhorn and radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh, the chief of the 'Waris Punjab De' outfit, is lodged in a jail in Assam
Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh enters the polls battle for the Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha seat.
Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh enters the polls battle for the Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha seat.

CHANDIGARH: Radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh and Sarabjeet Singh Khalsa, the son of one of the assassins of Indira Gandhi, have made their maiden entry to Parliament.

Singh won the Khadoor Sahib by a margin of 1,97,120 votes over his nearest rival and Congress candidate Kulbuir Singh Zira while Sarabjeet Singh Khalsa won in Faridkot by 70,053 over AAP's Karamjit Singh Anmol.

Both Singh and Khalsa contested the polls as Independents.

Political greenhorn and radical Sikh preacher Singh, the chief of the 'Waris Punjab De' outfit, is lodged in a jail in Assam after being slapped under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) a year ago.

His father Tarsem Singh on Tuesday thanked the Almighty and expressed gratitude to the 'sangat' (community) for their overwhelming support.

"It was the 'sangat' which fought this battle," he told PTI.

From youth to women and elderly people, everyone contributed in this election, said Singh who styled himself after slain Khalistani militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

He was arrested in Moga's Rode village on April 23 last year following an over a month-long manhunt.

Singh's father had earlier said his son was not willing to fight an electoral contest but he changed his mind at the instance of 'sangat'.

His supporters, mainly youth in the Khadoor Sahib parliamentary constituency, praised him for weaning them away from drugs and making them baptised Sikh.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) (Amritsar) head and Khalistan (separate Sikh homeland) sympathiser Simranjit Singh Mann extended his party's support to Singh and did not field any candidate from the Khadoor Sahib seat.

Paramjit Kaur Khalra, wife of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, led Singh's poll campaign.

Paramjit Kaur Khalra had unsuccessfully contested from the Khadoor Sahib seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

However, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had asked people to evaluate if Singh had been "propped up by the central agencies".

He asked the people to determine whether a person who had acquired 'Sikhi saroop' a year earlier was fit to lead them.

He also pointed out the dichotomy in Singh's earlier stand that he did not want to enter politics and was only interested in 'amrit parchar' and fighting the drug menace.

The radical Sikh preacher who styled himself after slain Khalistani militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, was arrested in Moga's Rode village on April 23 last year following an over a month-long manhunt.

He and his associates were booked under several criminal cases related to spreading disharmony among classes, attempt to murder, attack on police personnel and creating obstructions in the lawful discharge of duty by public servants.

The Khadoor Sahib constituency, which is known as a 'panthic' seat, has voters from all three regions ---Majha, Malwa and Doaba.

It has nine assembly segments Jandiala, Tarn Taran, Khem Karan, Patti, Khadoor Sahib, Baba Bakala, Kapurthala, Sultanpur Lodhi and Zira.

Seven assembly segments are held by the AAP while one each by the Congress and an Independent.

Khalsa, the son of Beant Singh, one of the two assassins of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, is leading by a margin of over 60,000 votes in the Faridkot reserve parliamentary constituency against his nearest rival and AAP nominee Karamjit Singh Anmol.

Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, who were the bodyguards of the then Prime Minister, killed India Gandhi on October 31, 1984 at her residence.

"It is the 'sangat' of Faridkot which approached me to fight the polls," Khalsa had said earlier.

During the poll campaigning, Khalsa, who is based in Mohali, raised the issue of the 2015 sacrilege incidents in which the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib was desecrated sparking protests and leading to the death of two anti-sacrilege protesters in Faridkot.

He also took up the issue of 'Bandi Singhs' (Sikh prisoners who completed their jail terms).

Apart from this, Khalsa raised the issues of drug menace, river water, farmers' demand for legal guarantee to minimum support price.

It was not the first time Khalsa fought elections.

He had unsuccessfully fought the 2004 Lok Sabha polls from Bathinda seat on SAD (Amritsar) ticket and had polled 1.13 lakh votes.

He had also unsuccessfully contested the 2007 Punjab assembly polls from Bhadaur seat in Barnala.

Khalsa had again tried his luck in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Fatehgarh Sahib seat on a BSP ticket but lost.

His mother Bimal Kaur was an MP from Ropar seat in 1989.

This time, Khalsa was pitted against AAP nominee and Punjabi actor Karamjit Anmol, BJP's Hans Raj Hans, Congress party's Amarjit Kaur Sahoke and SAD's Rajwinder Singh.

Faridkot Lok Sabha seat comprises nine assembly segments -- ?Nihal Singhwala, Bagha purana, Moga, Dharamkot, Gidderbaha, Faridkot, Kotkapura, Jaitu and Rampura Phul.

Except Gidderbaha, all eight assembly segments were represented by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates.

Congress party's Amrinder Singh Raja Warring is an MLA from Gidderbaha.

In 2014, AAP nominee Sadhu Singh had won the Faridkot Lok Sabha seat while in 2019, Congress party's Mohammad Sadique won from this constituency.

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