A day after the Congress faced an embarrassing defeat in the municipal committee elections, the party received another jolt on Thursday, as it lost to the Shiromani Akali Dal in the bypolls held in two wards of the Patiala Municipal Corporation. The SAD managed to retain both the seats with a good margin.
Harbaksh Singh Chahal, the SAD candidate from ward number 46, got better of his Congress counterpart Vijay Kumar by 818 votes. Vijay polled only 811 votes.
In ward number 8, Surjit Singh of the SAD won by a narrow margin of 71 votes. His opponent from the Congress, Sarabjit Singh, got only 1,218 votes.
The defeat came as dejection for both Patiala MLAs Preneet Kaur and Brahm Mohindra who led rigorous campaigns to woo voters in ward number 46 and 8, respectively. Besides, these MLAs remained present outside the polling station throughout the polling day to influence voters in the last the ditch effort but failed.
Apart from Preneet, other senior Congress leaders, including former MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur and councillors, visited the ward number 46 on the polling day. "We didn't expect that we would perform so bad in ward number 46," said Preneet.
However, the Congress failed to retain the lead it got from ward 46 during Patiala urban assembly election held in August last year. Preneet Kaur had received 1,594 votes against her SAD counterpart Bhagwan Das Juneja's 944 votes.
"It is high time we introspected to know what went wrong in the elections. We did our best and were expecting better results," Preneet said.
Mohindra said they would look into the factors that led to the loss of Congress candidate in ward 8.
"These elections left several positive things as it helped us get an overview of what people think. It will also help us in proper management of such elections in future," he said.
On the other hand, the SAD, which is facing the ire of people due to its poor development agenda, heaved some sigh of relief by winning both these seats.
SAD leaders, including mayor Amairnder Bajaj, YAD malwa zone president Harpal Juneja, went all out to ensure victory in the bypolls.