Getting second-time lucky, Congress candidate Balbir Singh Sidhu emerged victorious from the SAS Nagar assembly constituency after defeating his nearest rival Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, SAD candidate, by a margin of 16,752 votes.
Sidhu, 52, polled 63,975 out of 1,24,615 votes, while Ramoowalia got 47,223 votes.
An elated Sidhu said, "My 20 years of service to the area hasn't gone waste. Work done cannot be ignored and it spoke for itself in the elections. People elected me once again after taking my work into consideration."
An undergraduate, Sidhu is the proprietor of SAS Nagar-based Sidhu Gases and has a partnership in Kurali Gas service. He is also a partner in Unique Wine Company. Sidhu promises to work towards the overall development of SAS Nagar with special focus on the revival of industry.
This was the fourth election contested by Sidhu. In 2007, he was elected MLA from Kharar, defeating SAD candidate Jasjit Singh Bunny. In 2002, Sidhu had contested as an Independent candidate after being denied ticket by the Congress, but was defeated by Congress candidate Bir Devinder Singh. Prior to this, Sidhu had contested the 1997 elections too, but was defeated by the SAD candidate.
Apart from his contribution to the constituency, factionalism in the SAD allegedly contributed towards Sidhu's win. Sidhu has been working in the area for the past three years, which paid off.
Ramoowalia gave Sidhu and his supporters a few anxious moments as he led in the first two rounds of the counting of votes, but as the counting progressed, Sidhu gained lead in the third round and did not look back from there on.
"We got just 20 days to campaign, so I think the number of votes I got is a gain rather than a loss. We have lost the seat traditionally considered the bastion of the Congress," said Ramoowalia.
People's Party of Punjab candidate Bir Devinder Singh, who claimed to provide a third option to the people of SAS Nagar, was unsuccessful in converting support from the locals to votes and received only 9,065 votes.
Bir Devinder, who was elected as MLA from Kharar constituency in 2002 on the Congress ticket, had sought votes on the basis of the work undertaken by him as MLA.
BSP candidate Manav Mehra, a former Ranji player, got 2,612 votes.