Continuing with the momentum created by its win in the January 30 Punjab assembly polls, the SAD-BJP coalition made a clean sweep of municipal corporation elections with majority in all four local bodies in the state.
Reports of coalition supporters' involvement in violence and rigging poured in during the day, while the main opponent Congress rank and file watched helplessly as the ruling coalition raced towards victory.
The coalition managed to improve its performance as compared to previous MC elections of 2007. Of the 250 wards of municipal corporations in Amritsar (65), Jalandhar (60), Patiala (50) and Ludhiana (75) that went to polls on Sunday, the alliance cornered 156 wards.
The poor show by the Congress is likely to further demoralise the party cadres and may even hasten the process of appointment of new party president in the state.
Congress spokesman Janardhan Dwivedi has already made an announcement that Capt Amarinder Singh's continuance on the post would depend on MC poll results.
The allegations of violence and rigging alleged by the Congress may be true to some extent, but Congress also put up a weak front as it was demoralised after the humiliating defeat in the assembly polls.
Interestingly, Manpreet Badal-led PPP, which had failed to open its account in the assembly elections, managed to win a ward in Jalandhar.
Except for Jalandhar where coalition just about managed to reach the half way mark by wining 30 out of the 60 wards, the coalition had comfortable victories in other three corporations. In Ludhiana and Amritsar, the coalition improved on its earlier performance in MC polls.
In Patiala, the coalition won 39 wards of the total 50, in Amritsar 48 of the total 65, and 39 of the total 75 in Ludhiana. Congress was able to attain a respectable number of seats in Jalandhar (22) and Ludhiana (17). In Patiala, the stronghold of PPCC president Capt Amarinder Singh, the Congress managed victory in eight wards only.
Amritsar sprang a big surprise when sitting mayor of the BJP, Shwait Malik, lost to Congress first-timer Gurinder Singh, but overall the Congress have its worst-ever performance by winning only four seats.
In an attempt to save his post, PPCC president Capt Amarinder Singh was out in the field for the past about a week, but he was unable to conjure up a surprise for his party. On the day of polling, he was seen encouraging his party workers but that could not help him garner support of genuine voters for his candidates.
In contrast, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and CM Parkash Singh Badal remained indoors but closely monitored and controlled every development. Both SAD and BJP made their ministers and MLAs monitor elections sitting in the field with the workers. While the CM hailed the alliance victory, Sukhbir reportedly flew abroad. He is expected to finalise the names of mayors on his return on June 19.
Earlier this week, CLP leader Sunil Jakhar met Punjab Governor, apprehending violence and rigging, but that too did not help the party.
The coalition stuck to the agenda of development as they had done in the assembly elections and planned well by picking up the right candidates, and making "meticulous planning" for the polling day. SAD even managed some unopposed victories before the polling.
While there are differences between the SAD and the BJP over the construction of a memorial for those killed in Operation Bluestar of 1984 and honouring Beant Singh's killer, the two parties contested the elections in cohesion and the results are there for everyone to see.