Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party wrested the Hoshiarpur seat by a slender margin of 13,582 votes from the Congress candidate, it was Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that actually stole the show by bagging over 2 lakh votes in its election debut in the state.
The winning candidate, Vijay Sampla, polled 3,46,643 votes, the Congress' Mohinder Singh Kaypee got 3,33,061 votes while AAP nominee Yamini Gomar polled 2,13,388 votes.
It was a dismal performance by the Bahujan Samaj Party ever from the constituency. BSP's Bhagwan Singh Chohan got only 40,497 votes whereas party candidate Sukhwinder Kumar had polled 1,03,320 votes in 2009.
The fight between Sampla and Kaypee remained neck and neck till the end.
While Sampla polled maximum votes in the Mukerian assembly segment and got lead from Hargobindpur, Bhulath, Dasuya and Urmur, Kaypee polled more votes than him in Hoshiarpur, Chabbewal, Phagwara and Sham Churasi. The victory margin this time, however, improved from the last parliamentary elections in 2009 when Congress' Santosh Chowdhary had defeated Som Parkash of the BJP by 366 votes.
Speculations of a sizeable chunk of votes going the AAP way were proved correct. Both the BJP and the Congress were not denying the AAP factor but the kind of numbers it got is no less than a surprise to them.
The results, however, indicate that the AAP inflicted the greatest damage on the BSP. People from all sections and age groups apparently voted for the new party.
Sampla not only fought the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) but opposition from within as well. He is learnt to have trailed in Hoshiarpur, Chabbewal and Phagwara mainly due to the infighting in the party.
In Chabbewal, chief parliamentary secretary Sohan Singh Thandal did his bit but a section of the BJP, close to a prominent Dalit leader, reportedly spoiled the game.
Anti-incumbency was another factor that got the alliance candidate less votes.
In Hoshiarpur, the campaign was led by chief minister's political advisor Tikshan Sud and in Phagwara by chief parliamentary secretary Som Parkash but both failed to secure lead for the party. Poor show in Sham Churasi can be attributed to the decline in the popularity of sitting SAD MLA Mohinder Kaur Josh.
The dissidents had not opposed Sampla openly but there were certainly undercurrents of a silent campaign against him.
A party leader was seen canvassing for the Congress candidate in the city. Sampla's win will definitely raise the clout of Rajya Sabha memeber Avinash Rai Khanna who was instrumental in getting his protégé the ticket and then worked hard to ensure his victory.