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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Political parties nowhere near 2012 tally in Punjab

Pawan Sharma, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 18, 2014
First Published: 08:17 IST(18/5/2014) | Last Updated: 10:13 IST(18/5/2014)

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government has won just 45 assembly segments of the 13 parliamentary seats in Punjab, barely two years after it had pulled a stunning victory and won together 68 seats in the 2012 assembly elections.

The dramatic verdict of May 16 has dealt an equal body blow to the Congress, which has won in 37 assembly constituencies against 47 the party had won under the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh in the last assembly polls.

Thus, the tally of the SAD-BJP -- keeping in view the Lok Sabha poll result -- is down by 23 seats, while the Congress has lost 10 seats. And the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has won in 33 assembly segments of the total 117 assembly seats in this border state.

In the Lok Sabha elections, the SAD has won four, BJP two and the Congress three seats; whereas AAP has won four seats, leaving the mainstream political parties stunned by this impressive performance despite not having resources and a strong cadre.

Bajwa drubbing
As per the analysis of the assembly se gment-wise Lok Sabha results, Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa not only lost in all nine assembly se gments of Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat, he also suffered another humiliation of losing by 2,426 votes in Qadian assembly segment being represented by his MLA wife Charanjit Kaur Bajwa.

Bajwa received such a drubbing that the BJP nominee Vinod Khanna, who won by 1.36 lakh votes, got a lead of 60,896 votes from five assembly segments being represented by the Congress, besides retaining lead in four other assembly segments also.

Captain surge
In Amritsar, the Congress’ Capt Amarinder Singh, who defeated BJP stalwart Arun Jaitley by over 1 lakh votes, got lead in seven segments despite the SAD-BJP having six MLAs.

Capt Amarinder got a lead of 32,198 votes from MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu’s segment and of 18,726 votes from the seat of Anil Joshi, the controversial BJP minister who has now resigned.

However, in Khadoor Sahib, the Lok Sabha seat which the SAD won by over 1 lakh votes, it won in all nine assembly segments.

The SAD nominee and sitting MLA from Adampur Pawan Kumar Tinu went down by 4,466 votes in his assembly segment, while Congress’ sitting MLA Joginder Singh Panjgrain who contested from Faridkot also lost in Jaitu, the assembly segment he represents in the Vidhan Sabha.

While in the assembly elections, the SAD-BJP had won all nine segments in Jalandhar, the SAD nominee lost in seven segments, including Jalandhar central from where BJP’s Manoranjan Kalia is an MLA.

And in adjoining Hoshiarpur, which the BJP’s Vijay Sampla won by a slender margin of 13,582 votes, the Congress got a lead of 5,000 votes from the assembly segment of BJP’s chief parliamentary secretary Som Parkash.

Chandumajra surprise
The results sprang a major surprise in Anandpur Sahib parliamentary seat where SAD candidate Prem Singh Chandumajra despite winning only in two assembly segments emerged victorious with 23,697 votes, defeating Congress veteran Ambika Soni.

Here, Soni managed a lead in three assembly segments of the SAD, while AAP’s Himmat Shergill was ahead in four assembly segments represented by the Congress.

But in Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, where a four-cornered contest took place the ruling SAD was wiped out, while the AAP got lead in four segments.

And the Congress’ Ravneet Singh Bittu who won by 19,709 votes actually got lead in three assembly segments and trailed in others.

For the SAD, another jolt came in Fatehgarh Sahib Lok Sabha seat where the ruling party got lead in one segment, while AAP won by leading in six assembly segments.

The AAP phenomenon hit the SAD and Congress equally in Faridkot. Here, AAP candidate polled more votes than his rivals in the fray in seven assembly segments, while the Congress and SAD led in one segment each.

Similarly, in Sangrur, the Congress was wiped out in all segments as AAP led in eight segments and the SAD managed lead in Lehra segment being represented by Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

It was in Patiala where AAP capped its shock-and-awe act by wresting the seat from Preneet Kaur, wife of Capt Amarinder Singh, by 20,942 votes. Dr Dharam Vira Gandhi, whose victory astounded the pundits, won in four assembly segments, while the SAD managed lead in two and the Congress in three segments, including Samana, the segment represented by SAD leader and cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra.

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