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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Preneet Kaur loses elections; Akali Dal loses face

Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times  Patiala, May 17, 2014
First Published: 23:58 IST(17/5/2014) | Last Updated: 00:01 IST(18/5/2014)

In the victory of the Aam Aadmi party candidate Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, Congress candidate Preneet Kaur has lost the election, but the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party has lost face in Patiala.

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The panthic party remained third. The worst is SAD heavyweight cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, mayor Amarinder Singh Bajaj, Shutrana MLA Vaninder Kaur Loomba, Patiala rural leader Harmel Singh Tohra and Satbir Singh Khatra, Sanour Halqa in-charge Tejinderpal Singh Sandhu, fail to garner votes for Dhillon in their respective areas.  The Akali Dal vote bank from the Patiala urban seat has further slipped from 24,000 votes to 16,342 votes. In the last assembly elections, Surjit Kohli has put a single -handed fight against Congress candidate whereas this time the Akali Dal had put a united front.

Leaders like Surjit Rakhra, mayor Amarinder Bajaj, Harpal Juneja and others worked very hard and even roped in former mayor Vishnu Sharma to increase the vote bank. But all proved a flop show.

In fact it’s Patiala urban, Patiala rural, Samana, Shutrana and Sanour, which are responsible for the defeat of the SAD candidate Deepinder Singh Dhillon, who got major lead of 47,000 votes from his home town Dera Bassi, while managing to neutralise Rajpura, from where the Congress always lead with 20,000.

The worst case was of the Cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, who was claiming to bring a lead of 20,000 votes from the Samana constituency.  This defeat from his home turf has eroded his clout in Patiala.

Similarly, the second major jolt comes from the Patiala urban, where despite having 46 councillors out of total 50,  the SAD-BJP combine  managed only 16,342 votes. Voters punished the Akalis for poor civic amenities in the city and as the Congress was not in power in the state, thus they voted for AAP.

Leaders like mayor Amarinder Bajaj, former mayor Jaspal Singh, Harpal Juneja, Harinderpal Tohra, BJP district president Anil Bajaj, and all Rakhra group protégés councillors, fail to even garner even 1000 votes each from their respective MC wards. From mayor Amarinder’s ward, the party got only  608 votes,  from BJP’s Anil Bajaj area 602 votes. Votes in Harpal Juneja and Ajit Pal Kohli areas also fails to touch the four-digit number.

“It’s the from MC areas where Dhillon lost badly, while Samana and Shutrana from where he expected a lead also went down. Thus, the lead of 47,000 from Dera Bassi eroded,” said an Akali Dal leader.

While Deepinder Dhillon is tightlipped, Cabinet Minister Surjit Singh Rakhra admitted that the broom dented the Akali Dal much more than their expectations.

 “It’s a time to introspect and correct mistakes. I acknowledge that SAD failed to deliver as expected, but we will work hard to overcome our shortcomings,” he added.

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