The Shiromani Akali Dal won two of the ten seats it contested.(HT Photo/Anil Dayal)
The Shiromani Akali Dal won two of the ten seats it contested.(HT Photo/Anil Dayal)

Lok Sabha election results 2019: Sukhbir Singh Badal and Harsimrat Kaur Badal win, increase Akalis Dal’s morale

The victory of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal in the high-stake seats of Ferozepur and Bathinda has boosted the party cadres’ morale.
By Gurpreet Singh Nibber | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAY 24, 2019 01:19 PM IST

The victory of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal in the high-stake seats of Ferozepur and Bathinda has boosted the party cadres’ morale.

In the 2017 assembly elections, the party was reduced to 15 MLAs in the House in the wake of the sacrilege and firing incidents that took place under the SAD-BJP regime in 2015. At that time many political observers said it is the end of road for the party.

This was followed by rebellion against the party president with dissenters asking him to step down for the revival of the Akali Dal.

Senior SAD leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa resigned from all party posts and asked Sukhbir to step down. Other party seniors Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Rattan Singh Ajnala walked out of the party to form SAD (Taksali).

The Congress made the sacrilege issue the main poll plank against the Akalis. However, SAD candidates talked of the development carried out in the state during ten-year SAD-BJP regime (2007-17), besides harping on the Narendra Modi factor.

The SAD won two of the ten seats it contested. On six seats, party nominees are runners-up.

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The party fetched a vote share of 27.4% and its alliance partner 9.63%, taking the combined vote share to 37.1% as against the Congress’ 40.2%. Aam Aadmi Party’s vote share is 7.4%.

For the first time in his political career, Sukhbir came out of the wings of his father and SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal and led the party campaign.

His decision to field six party seniors, including himself, silenced the defectors who were alleging that he ignored the veterans. “We have managed to retain our vote bank and that’s a big achievement,” Sukhbir said.

His highest victory margin of 1.7 lakh votes in the state reinforced his control over party.

“It’s a comeback for the Akali Dal,” said Pramod kumar, director of a Chandigarh-based Institute of Development and Communication.

Jagrup Singh Sekhon, head of political science department in Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, said Akali cadres who had a low morale are charged up with the election outcome. “It will improve the political standing of the party in future,” he added.

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