HT Take: Decoding the Punjab mandate
This birthday present beats all. Voters gift-wrapped Punjab for Captain Amarinder Singh, with counting trends on Saturday pointing to a massive win for the Congress in the border state of Punjab. Campaigning vigorously, Amarinder not only dethroned the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine but also managed to check the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which was threatening to pull an upset win in the border state. In both 2012 and 2017 elections, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had announced Amarinder the party's chief ministerial candidate, a deviation from the party's policy of not naming its pick for the top post.