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THOUGH THE Bharatiya Janata Party got only three seats out of 23 this time, the party had put up a dismal show in Malwa last time around, too. In the 2012 Assembly election, BJP won only one out of the six seats they contested from Malwa Punjab and that was of Fazilka MLA Surjeet Kumar Jayani, who went on to become a minister as well.
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BJP contested from Abohar, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Ludhiana North, Ludhiana West and Ludhiana Central in Malwa Punjab and it is by far the party’s poorest performance in the past 10 years from this region.
In 2012, BJP won 12 seats, including five from Doaba region, six from Majha and only one from Malwa. In 2017, however, the party won one each from each section of Punjab. In Malwa, Arun Narang defeated three-time Congress MLA Sunil Jakhar from Abohar by 3,279 votes. Jakhar had been winning Abohar since 2002. Soon after winning, Narang took out a victory procession and his supporters sent out messages on social media that he is the only one from Malwa Punjab to win a seat. Narang told The Indian Express, “Yes, I am the lone BJP MLA from Malwa Punjab. No doubt our party did not fare well in Punjab. But I had responsibility about my seat which I fulfilled and hence I will take up all issues of the constituency despite being in opposition.”
Meanwhile, the other candidates who lost were Sukhpal Singh Nannu, defeated by Parminder Singh Pinki of the Congress by over 30,000 votes while Jayani lost to the youngest Congress candidate, Davinder Singh Ghubaya, from Fazilka by 296 votes.
In Ludhiana, BJP’s Kamal Chaitly finished third from Ludhiana West where Congress’s Bharat Bhushan Ashu won by over 36,000 votes. BJP’s Parveen Bansal lost to Congress’s Rakesh Pandey from Ludhiana North by nearly 5,000 votes while his party colleague Gurdev Sharma Debi lost to Surinder Dawar of Congress by more than 20,000 votes at Ludhiana Central. Bansal said, “We are weak in Malwa Punjab and we need to work harder. We will work more and will now focus on mission 2019 Lok Sabha polls.”