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Atta-dal, Dera Ballan support to BSP helps ruling combine retain Doaba

Doaba region has lost its tag of being a Congress bastion, with the SAD-BJP alliance pocketing 16 of the 23 assembly seats.

punjab Updated: Mar 06, 2012 18:34 IST

Doaba region has lost its tag of being a Congress bastion, with the SAD-BJP alliance pocketing 16 of the 23 assembly seats.

In 2007, the alliance rocked the Congress fort for the first time to bag 20 out of 25 seats in the region. Implementation of atta-dal scheme, infrastructure development and rise in BSP vote bank owing to decision of Dera Sachkhand Ballan followers to give impetus to "elephant" this time have emerged as major factors in helping SAD-BJP alliance further consolidate its vote bank in the region, comprising nearly 40% Dalit population.

Dera Sachkhand Ballan commands huge influence in Dalit-dominated Adampur, Kartarpur and Jalandhar Cantt constituencies.

Congress leadership's failure to perform the role of an opposition party to cash in on anti-incumbency factor, its internal bickering, particularly in Jalandhar district, differences over ticket allocation and lack of "cohesive" election engineering resulted in bad results in the poll arena.

The ticket allocation to Jalandhar MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee's wife Suman Kaypee from Jalandhar West proved to be wrong decision as the politically inexperienced woman lost the seat by more than 11,343 votes.

People's Party of Punjab defector Jagbir Brar too proved a liability for the Congress as he was easily defeated by Olympian Pargat Singh.

Internal bickering in Jalandhar district has seemingly not gone down well with the voters. More than 5,000 empty chairs at a Jalandhar district rally addressed by its state president Capt Amarinder Singh, had sounded alarming bells, but the leadership failed to take a call.

The drama over suspension of its Jalandhar (Urban) unit president Arun Walia and his return to the post after Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal's intervention was another bad publicity for the party.

Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign against the Congress is also being viewed as a factor, which helped wean away a section of urban voters, especially the middle class and the youth, from the Congress towards People's Party of Punjab and the BJP.

Meanwhile, the BJP, helped by the mismanaged Congress affairs, tried to consolidate its vote bank by concentrating its activities from Jalandhar. The saffron party hosted its state level rally in Jalandhar on December 24, wherein its national leaders like president Nitin Gadkari successfully attempted to rejuvenate the cadre.

Former local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia played a pivotal role in garnering support of Muslim community in party's favour apart from retaining his base amongst urban voters.

Alliance candidates won all nine seats of Jalandhar district to make a clean sweep, thus, necessitating the Congress think tank to re-work its strategies in Punjab.

The alliance's media campaign made electorate believe that how it performed excellently by initiating huge development projects in the region including the bridges and roads and its intent to come up with big urban infrastructure projects on being given the chance to govern again.

First Published: Mar 06, 2012 18:27 IST