The Congress leaders from the district who vehemently opposed the candidature of sitting MP Santosh Chowdhary the Hoshiarpur constituency failed to ensure victory for new candidate Mohinder Singh Kaypee, who was defeated by 13,582 votes by BJP's Vijay Sampla.
Although Kaypee trailed in six of the nine assembly segments, the margin of his defeat in Mukerian was more than that of his overall defeat. He lagged in this segment by 16,748 votes and this loss is being attributed to the indifference of local MLA Rajnish Kumar Babbi who had himself won this seat with a margin of over 12,000 votes in the 2012 assembly election as a rebel. He had later joined the Congress.
His performance is likely to come under scanner of the party high command.
The second constituency where Kaypee received a sound drubbing was Bholath represented by halqa in-charge and PPCC spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira who has already resigned from his post, after the party's poor show in the state.
Kaypee did manage to get a thin lead in Hoshiarpur segment which is represented by district president Sunder Sham Arora but BJP's factionalism was a major contributor to Congress nominee's victory here. The third Congress MLA of the district, Sangat Singh Gilzian, managed an inconsequential lead of 721 votes only.
Congress leaders find Aam Admi Party (AAP) a spoiler but as matter of fact none of the local leaders put in the required effort.
Kaypee depended entirely on local leadership as he himself was new to the constituency. Many Congressmen did not come out at all or shifted to other constituencies to campaign for other candidates. Santosh Chowdhary and her husband and former MLA Ram Lubhaya also remained aloof. Chowdhary now claims that the major reason behind the party's debacle was its failure to highlight her achievements as an MP and a minister.
AAP candidate Yamini Gomar polled an astonishingly high number of 2,13,338 votes but if the results are compared to 2009 figures, it becomes clear that AAP affected the Congress and the BJP alike. The Congress had polled 3,58,812 and the BJP 3,58,446 votes in the 2009 parliamentary elections and this time around they polled 3,33,061 and 3,46,643 votes respectively. The major causality of AAP's emergence has been the Bahujan Samaj Party whose votes sank from 1,03,320 to merely 40,497. The AAP also ate into the votes of independent candidates.
Arora said the party would introspect and find out reasons for its defeat but denied that Kaypee did not get full support from local leaders. "Everyone worked hard but unfortunately we fell short of required numbers," he said.
"People had already made up their minds to vote for AAP which deprived us of the anti-incumbency votes," he added. He also admitted to 'Modi wave' stating that urban voters voted more generously for the BJP than the Congress.