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Punjab untouched by Modi wave: Cong wins 8 seats

Source: PTI
May 24, 2019 13:14 IST
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The Akali Dal-BJP alliance won on four seats and the AAP bagged one. 

IMAGE: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh speaks to media personnel during a press conference in Chandigarh. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Congress has won eight parliamentary seats in Punjab, bucking the pro-Modi trend seen across northern, central and eastern India in this general election.

Out of the total 13 seats in the state, the Congress romped home to impressive victory, surprising both the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine and the Aam Aadmi Party and improving its tally from three in 2014 polls.

It had won Gurdaspur in a bypoll in 2017.


The Akali Dal-BJP alliance won on four seats and the AAP bagged one.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, Bollywood actor Sunny Deol, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, former Union ministers Manish Tewari and Preneet Kaur, and Ravneet Singh Bittu were among the prominent leaders who won in Punjab.

Major upsets in the poll outcome were Union minister and BJP nominee Hardeep Singh Puri, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar and SAD candidate Prem Singh Chandumajra.

Akali Dal managed to win only two seats against four it pocketed in last general election.

The BJP won Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur but failed again to break the "jinx" of not winning Amritsar.

The AAP was routed from Punjab, winning only one seat out of the 13 it contested.

It had surprised many in 2014 Lok Sabha election when it had won four seats in the state.

In 2014, the SAD-BJP combine had won six seats and the AAP had won four.

the Congress won three seats in that election and three years later Gurdaspur.

Since the counting of votes began at 8 am, the Congress continuously maintained lead in the eight constituencies it finally won -- Amritsar, Faridkot, Anandpur Sahib, Jalandhar, Khadoor Sahib, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala.

Punjab chief minister and Congress leader Amarinder Singh's wife and two-time MP Preneet Kaur defeated SAD candidate Surjit Singh Rakhra by 1.62 lakh votes in Patiala.

The party's Manish Tewari won from Anandpur Sahib by trouncing veteran Akali leader Prem Singh Chandumajra by more than 46,000 votes.

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal were the only SAD candidates who won their respective Ferozepur and Bathinda seats, both considered the party's stronghold.

Former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal fought against turncoat and Congress candidate Sher Singh Ghubaya and defeated him with a margin of over 1.98 lakh votes.

Harsimrat Kaur was re-elected from Bathinda for the third time, defeating Congress candidate Amrinder Singh Raja Warring with a margin of 21,772 votes.

A major highlight of the poll outcome was BJP candidate Sunny Deol's win. He wrested Gurdaspur seat from Congress heavyweight Sunil Jakhar by over 82,000 votes.

Ravneet Singh Bittu, a two-time MP and grandson of former chief minister Beant Singh, retained his Ludhiana seat by defeating Lok Insaaf Party nominee Simarjeet Singh Bains by over 76,000 votes.

Winning the majority of constituencies in Punjab, despite a "Modi wave", would strengthen the stature of CM Amarinder Singh who almost singlehandedly rode his party to victory.

The impressive performance by the Congress would also mean voters did not fall for the rival parties' pitch that Amarinder Singh had “reneged” on his party's poll promises.

The SAD, which was looking to resurrect itself following a backlash over the issue of desecration of religious texts, could manage to win only two seats, out of the 10 it contested.

Despite fielding old warhorses from several constituencies, including Jagir Kaur (Khadoor Sahib), Gulzar Singh Ranike (Faridkot), Charanjit Singh Atwal (Jalandhar), Prem Singh Chandumajra (Anandpur Sahib) and Parminder Singh Dhindsa (Sangrur), SAD contestants were badly trailing.

The AAP, in spite of party chief Arvind Kejriwal's extensive campaigning in Punjab, was set to win only Sangrur constituency, from where party's state unit head Bhagwant Mann is contesting, against his rival Kewal Singh Dhillon of the Congress.

The poll prospects for AAP were not bright from the beginning because of internal bickering and desertions and Bhagwant Mann was the best bet for the party in these polls.

Punjab Democratic Alliance, a conglomeration of several outfits led by Sukhpal Khaira's Punjabi Ekta Party, also failed to offer third front in Punjab's politics as none of its candidate could make a mark except Lok Insaaf Party's (part of PDA) Simarjit Singh Bains finished second after losing to Bittu from Ludhiana. Khaira finished a poor fourth in Bathinda.

However, the poll outcome saw some support to the candidates of the Bahujan Samaj Party (part of the PDA) on Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and Anandpur Sahib seats as its contestants were at the third position in these constituencies.

A total of 10 sitting parliament members and nine assembly legislators of different political outfits tried their luck during this election.

The vote share of Congress grew to 40.13 per cent while Akali Dal's was 27.45.

AAP's vote share nosedived to 7.38 per cent while BJP and BSP's was 9.63 and 3.49 per cent, respectively, as per the EC data.

In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Congress party's vote share was 33.10 and SAD's was 26.30 per cent.

The AAP and the BJP's vote share percentage was 24.40 and 8.70.


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