All four candidates of Shiromani Akali Dal who fought the Delhi assembly elections on the symbol of BJP as well as that of SAD failed to win despite top Akali leadership going all out to secure their victory. Three candidates had stood for elections under BJP symbol while one fought on the SAD ticket in the elections.
SAD candidate, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who was considered a heavyweight in the Rajouri Garden constituency too could not withstand the wave of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and lost by a margin of 10,036 votes to AAP candidate Jarnail Singh. Sirsa polled 44,880 votes as opposed to 54,916 votes by former journalist Jarnail Singh.
Harmit Singh Kalka, Jitender Singh Shunty and Avtar Singh Hit were the other three candidates who stood on the BJP symbol from Kalkaji, Shahdara and Hari Nagar respectively. Kalka lost to Avtar Singh Kalkaji by a margin of 19,769 votes while Shunty lost to his AAP opponent Ram Niwas Goel by a margin of 11,731 votes. Avtar Singh Hit was trounced by Jagdeep Singh of AAP by a huge margin of 26,496 votes.
The SAD leadership had campaigned extensively in Delhi for these four seats. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Union food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal along with a battery of senior Akali leadership had camped in Delhi. The SAD leadership had reportedly got the clue that the BJP was on backfoot in Delhi and had therefore put in lot of efforts to secure the solitary seat of Rajouri Garden being fought under their own symbol.
The importance being given by SAD to the seat can be gauged from the fact that Punjab Revenue Minister and a close relative of the Badals, Bikram Singh Majithia, was given the charge of Rajouri Garden seat along with Jagir Kaur, former President of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee. However, the combined efforts of all the leaders could not save the situation for the party.
SAD leaders remained incommunicado during the day as the election results started pouring in. However, many leaders blamed the loss on the “arrogance” of BJP. A senior leader said that the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was not extended invitation for any major rally which was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi or by BJP President Amit Shah. “There were several seats where there were Sikh voters in sizeable numbers but BJP did not even ask our senior leaders including party president Sukhbir Badal to address rallies in these constituencies,” said one leader not willing to be named.
The SAD leadership is also said to have felt that there was a negative perception of BJP among Sikh voters as far as their treatment of minorities goes and this alienation extended to SAD too as a result of which they too could not get the desired results.
A section of Akali leadership is stated to be pleased that the BJP has performed badly in the elections and that it will now lose some of the sheen that it had gathered after the Lok Sabha polls. BJP had turned aggressive and dominant in Punjab and had been increasingly assertive. The party had launched a massive membership drive in the state which it claimed had met with great success and the senior leadership had demanded the resignation of Bikram Singh Majithia over the issue of questioning by the Enforcement Directorate. There had also been whispers that BJP might like to go it alone in the next assembly elections. Akali leaders feel that with the poor performance BJP in Delhi elections, their party will re-gain its position in Punjab .