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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

AAP surge weakens Modi wave in Punjab

Navneet Sharma, Hindustantimes.com  Chandigarh, May 16, 2014
First Published: 21:04 IST(16/5/2014) | Last Updated: 11:20 IST(17/5/2014)

The pan-India Modi magic failed to click in Punjab, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief strategist suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress in Amritsar, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) opened its account in the Lok Sabha by winning four of the 13 seats on the strength of the public ire against the state and central regimes.

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The only consolation for the ruling alliance, which won five seats in 2009, was that it bettered the tally to six (four Shiromani Akali Dal and two BJP) but the Congress slipped to a worse performance, as it could pick only three seats against eight in last parliamentary election. Its state party president Partap Singh Bajwa and heavy weights Preneet Kaur, Ambika Soni, and Sunil Jakhar were among the losers.

Much to the SAD's embarrassment in the Badal citadel of Bathinda, sitting MP Harsimrat Kaur, wife of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, barely scraped through against Manpreet Singh Badal of the Congress.

The rookie AAP burst into the state's political scene as a formidable third force with 25% vote share, damaging both the Congress and the SAD-BJP on most seats. Comedian-turned-politician Bhagwant Mann led the AAP surge, trouncing Akali stalwart Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and sitting Congress MP Vijay Inder Singh Singla in Sangrur. His victory margin of more than 2-lakh votes was highest in the state. Punjab is the only state where the AAP made a dream debut, while drawing blank elsewhere in the country.

Read: AAP emerges in Punjab with 4 seats, SAD-BJP bags 6 while Congress takes 3 

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