The SAD-BJP alliance on Tuesday created history in Punjab by storming back to power for a second consecutive term, breaking a 46-year-old jinx.
Bucking the anti-incumbency trend, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) won 56 seats while its alliance partner BJP got 12 seats, taking the combine's tally to 68 in the 117-member assembly in the results declared on Tuesday.
The alliance had won 69 seats in the 2007 election. While SAD has improved its tally from 50, BJP has suffered loss of seven seats.
The Congress, which was banking on anti-incumbency factor to ride to power, won only 46 seats, only marginally higher than the 42 it got last time. Three others were won by independents.
SAD rebel Manpreet Singh Badal's PPP failed to open its account with the four-time MLA also losing from Gidderba and Maur.
An ecstatic Parkash Singh Badal, who is all set to don the chief minister's mantle for a record fifth time, termed it as a vote for "peace and development". Praising his son -- Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal -- the 84-year-old Akali patriarch said he played a "big role" in ensuring return of SAD-BJP to power.
"The victory showed people's trust in Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's leadership and the work done by him. He will be the chief minister and a final decision will be taken by the party."
It is the first time since 1966, when Haryana was carved out of Punjab that any ruling party has returned to power.
A disappointed Congress resigned itself to yet another stint in opposition with its chief ministerial candidate Amarinder Singh saying he accepted the people's verdict and offered to quit as state PCC chief.
"I will leave it to the Congress president. If she wishes, I will step down," Singh, whose son Raninder Singh lost from Samana, told reporters.
Chief Minister Badal won from his Lambi seat defeating his nearest Congress rival and cousin Mahesh Inder Singh Badal by a margin of 24,739 votes.
Besides infighting, the SAD-BJP combine went into the polls fighting allegations of corruption and nepotism. It also had to reconcile with a number of rebels.
The assembly results proved the exit polls wrong which had predicted a Congress win or a close fight between the two parties.
Badal was chief minister for 15 months in 1970-71 and for 32 months in 1977-1980 without any alliance with the BJP or its earlier avatars. His third tenure as chief minister from 1997 -- first time to complete full five years -- was in alliance with BJP. He became the chief minister for the fourth time in 2007 again heading a BJP-SAD government.
On Congress' defeat, Badal said, "There are numerous reasons for this. It is the most corrupt party. There is no sense of security prevailing among people, there is so much price rise, unemployment and the party has no agenda to take this country forward".
The other prominent SAD winners include Deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal, (Jalalabad) former SGPC President Jagir Kaur (Bholath), Hockey Olympian Pargat Singh (Jalandhar Cantt), Farzana Alam (Malerkotla) wife of former DGP Mohd Izhar Alam and former Youth Akali Dal President Sharanjit Singh Dhillon (Sahnewal).
Prominent partymen who lost included ministers Upinderjit Kaur, Ranjit Singh Brahampura, Sewa Singh Sekhwan besides former senior IAS officer D S Guru (Bhadaur), who was Principal secretary to Chief Minister and former DGP P S Gill (Moga).
The prominent Congressmen to win included state unit Chief Amarinder Singh (Patiala), former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal (Lehra), industrialist Kewal Singh Dhillon (Barnala), Gur Iqbal Kaur from Nawan Shahar.
The other Congress partymen to lose included sitting legislators Jasbir Singh Khangura (Dakha), Avtar Singh Brar (Faridkot) and Ripjit Singh Brar (Kot Kapura).
The prominent BJP winners include state unit Chief Ashwani Sharma (Pathankot), former ministers Manoranjan Kalia(Jalandhar Central) and Madan Mohan Mittal (Anandpur Sahab) and BJP MP Navjot Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur.
BJP stalwarts to lose include Tikshan Sud (Hoshiarpur) and deputy speaker of the state assembly Satpal Gosain (Ludhiana).