IN THE closely contested elections at Dera Bassi and Kharar where the victory margins were low, it was some rural segments that played a decisive role in ensuring victory for SAD candidate N K Sharma and AAP candidate Kanwar Sandhu. In Dera Bassi, where SAD candidate N K Sharma defeated the Congress’s Deepinder Singh Dhillon by 1,921 votes, 30 villages in Handesra block proved decisive in the win as Sharma took a lead of around 1,500 votes while he was in a neck-and-neck fight in Dera Bassi town. Sharma also fared poorly at Lalru.
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In the first round, Dhillon took a lead of around 225 votes over Sharma. But in the subsequent rounds, Sharma managed to take a lead of 7,000 votes from Zirakpur over Dhillon which is considered a stronghold of Sharma.
However, Dhillon settled the score with Sharma in Banur town where he came close to Sharma and was trailing by around 550 votes but in the last three rounds, votes of Handesra block which has 30 villages proved decisive for Sharma who managed to take a lead of 1,400 votes and win the elections.
Speaking to Chandigarh Newsline, Ashwini Sambhalki, who was the SAD’s in-charge from Handesra, said that during the last five years, they had done a lot of development works in the area which paid off and the people voted in favour of Sharma in large numbers.
Sharma, however, said that they would look into the reasons for their failure to get votes at Lalru. He would hold a meeting with the local workers there.
In Kharar, the contest was close between all the three parties: AAP, Congress and SAD. In the first three rounds, the contest seemed to be between SAD and Congress as the latter took a lead of 56 votes in the first round but in the second, third and fourth rounds, SAD candidate Ranjeet Gill managed to get a lead of around 300 votes over his opponents.
It was from fifth round onwards that AAP’s Kanwar Sandhu took a lead on other candidates and had a close contest with Kang. In Kharar town, the Congress and AAP had a close fight while in Kurali, the Congress was ahead of both AAP and SAD.
At Naya Gaon and Kansal which are important segments, the votes were divided between SAD and Congress but in Majri block, the AAP managed to get a wining lead of around 1,200 votes and in the last three rounds, the party did well in Kharar’s Sunny enclave area from where it got a handsome share of votes.
Sandhu said that he would analyse the areas where they got less votes. He added that they visited all the villages in his constituency during his campaign.
In Mohali, Sidhu managed to retain his votes in the rural areas as he got a lead of around 18,500 votes in the 78 villages falling under the constituency while votes in Mohali city and peripheral colonies were divided between Congress, AAP and SAD. The AAP also failed to make a dent in the Congress’s traditional base in Mohali city from where Sidhu had a lead of around 9,000 votes.
Harkesh Chand Machlikalan, a Congress strategist in Mohali, said that Sidhu worked hard in villages and remained among people which reflected in the results. He added that they worked equally in rural and urban areas.
Cabinet berth for Sidhu?
The Congress managed to win only Mohali seat in the three Assembly segments in the district which can pave the way for Balbir Singh Sidhu to get a Cabinet berth. Sidhu’s entry in the Cabinet has also become smooth as his senior Jagmohan Singh Kang lost from Kharar. Kang remained a Cabinet minister in Captain Amrinder Singh’s government from 2002 to 2007. Sidhu is a three-time MLA now. Had Kang won from Kharar then it would have been difficult for Sidhu to make it to the Cabinet.