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AAPocalypse: Cong, SAD, BJP register worst-ever performance

The Aam Aadmi Party storm made the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party hit one of the lowest ebbs in their electoral history of Punjab since it was carved out as a separate state in 1966.

Charanjit Singh Channi and Sukhbir Singh Badal

The Aam Aadmi Party storm made the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party hit one of the lowest ebbs in their electoral history of Punjab since it was carved out as a separate state in 1966.

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In the worst-ever electoral performance in the 13 Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections held after the reorganisation in 1966, 100-year-old Shiromani Akali Dal could not get to double digit mark, hitting another low this time winning only three seats compared with 15 it had won in the 117-member Vidhan Sabha in 2017 elections. The only SAD candidates who won were Bikram Singh Majithia’s wife Ganieve Kaur (from Majitha), Manpreet Singh Ayali from Dakha and Dr Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi from Banga. SAD won a seat each in Majha, Malwa and Doaba regions.

The February 20 elections in Punjab proved their Waterloo for the majority of the big guns, including chief ministerial candidates of Congress and Shiromani Akali, as they were routed by AAP nominees. They included 94-year-old Akali patron and five-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who until this election had the distinction of not losing any poll. He lost to Gurmeet Singh Khudian of AAP from Lambi by a margin of 11,396 votes. Such was the scale of AAP wave that SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal also lost badly from his bastion of Jalalabad to AAP candidate Jagdeep Kamboj by 30,930 votes.

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Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi lost both from Chamkaur Sahib and Bhadaur, the two constituencies he contested from. Channi lost to Labh Singh Ugoke of AAP by 37,558 votes in Bhadaur and by 7,942 votes to his namesake Charanjit Singh of AAP from Chamkaur Sahib.

Former CM Captain Amarinder Singh, who had formed Punjab Lok Congress after parting company with with Congress, also lost to AAP candidate Ajit Pal Singh Kohli from Patiala by 19,873 votes.

Both Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) Navjot Singh Sidhu and Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia, who were locked in a contest from Amritsar East, lost to Jeevan Jyot Kaur of AAP. Kaur defeated runner-up Sidhu by 6,750 votes.

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Congress leader and Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal lost to Jagroop Singh Gill of AAP from Bathinda Urban by a massive margin of 63,581 votes.

There was a sharp slide in Congress tally from 77 seats in 2017 to 18 in these elections, one seat more than it had won in 1977 elections, when the number of Assembly segments in the state rose to 117 from 104 and the party won 17 seats.

The BJP too ended up conceding a huge defeat, by winning only two seats, with state BJP president Ashwani Sharma winning from Pathankot and Jangi Lal Mahajan registering victory from Mukerian.

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SAD’s ally BSP, which had contested 20 seats, could win only one seat. The biggest setback, however, was for the SAD. Since 2012 elections, when SAD chief led the party to an unprecedented consecutive victory in the state, there has been a constant decline in the number of seats the party has been managing to win. In 2012, the SAD had won on 56 seats and its then ally BJP 12 seats.

First published on: 11-03-2022 at 03:30:00 am
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