“It’s unfortunate that we performed badly in Punjab,” said BJP’s state unit president Kamal Sharma, who finds no reason to celebrate because one the tallest leaders of his party, Arun Jaitley, stands defeated in a prestige battle from Amritsar.
Though BJP won two — Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur — of the three seats it contested as its share in the coalition with SAD, the loss in the holy city has already led to some action within, visible in the resignation of Anil Joshi from the state cabinet.
Joshi, one of the MLAs from within Amritsar, was among prime movers behind Jaitley replacing sitting MP Navjot Singh Sidhu as the BJP candidate.
On paper, the BJP doubled its previous individual tally of one, while its ally SAD stayed on four.
But even as the wave of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi swept the entire country, the Aam Aadmi party (AAP) ensured a different story in Punjab.
Not only did it cut into state anti-incumbency vote of the Congress, it also dented the SAD-BJP. The BJP could find solace in how its candidate Vinod Khanna defeated state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa in Gurdaspur.
Nothing, however, could make up for Jaitley’s defeat in what was his first direct electoral contest.