Congress candidate Sunder Sham Arora got a bigger mandate this time from Hoshiarpur assembly segment by winning the seat for the second consecutive term with almost double the margin. The development, to a large extent, points to the disgruntled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers, who extended support to him instead.
In 2012, Arora had defeated BJP’s Tikshan Sud by a margin of 6,208 votes but this time, the margin increased to 11,233 votes. Arora polled 49,951 votes whereas Sud got 38,718 votes. AAP’s Paramjit Singh Sachdeva hoped to trounce both major parties but had to settle with 27,481 votes only.
Not learning any lessons from the previous debacle, BJP not only failed to arrest internal dissidence but also continued with its autocratic style of working. Sud suffered the heaviest loss in urban areas as people were annoyed with the functioning of BJP- ruled municipal corporation (MC). Over the years, the MC had become synonymous with Tikshan Sud, and that is why, he was destined to bear the brunt of public anger. Also, people did not like his meddling in MC affairs nor approved his fixation for publicity. A handful of high-headed municipal councillors and party office bearers close to him, did more harm to him than help in the elections.
Sud failed to get majority in most of the BJP-led wards, even in the ward of his councillor wife Rakesh Sud. After declaration of results, when he talked of sabotage, he probably referred to the black sheep in the party who did not support him.
Meanwhile, the AAP candidate could not take advantage of the anti-incumbency wave which went in favour of the Congress. Discontented party leaders openly supported Arora in the elections. The tainted campaign carried out by AAP’s former non-resident Indian (NRI) wing co-ordinator Virinder Parihar against Sachdeva, and observer Ashok Nanglia is also said to have influenced public mind to some extent. Even former national council member of AAP, Naveen Jairth, had also joined Congress to work for Arora.