Pun­jab is AAP’s Sole Con­so­la­tion

Cor­ner­ing Cong & SAD-BJP, party wins 4 seats

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - RAGHAV OHRI

The ‘light­weight’ Aam Aadmi Party slugged it out like a cham­pion in Pun­jab,win­ning­fourseat­san­dretreat­ing only af­ter push­ing both the Akalis andCon­gress­in­totheir­corners. The lat­ter was hit where it hurts most, as it dras­ti­cally lost vote share totheAAP,which­se­curedan­im­pres­sive 25% of to­tal votes cast in Pun­jab, in its Lok Sabha elec­tion de­but. DrDharamvirGand­hi­causedahuge up­setinde­feat­ingth­ree-timeCongress MP Pre­neet Kaur from Patiala. Gandhi won by a lit­tle over 15,000 votes,an­dis­o­neof thecan­di­date­spre­dicted to over­throw a big­gie by ET. As se­nior AAP leader Ra­jeev Go­dara said, “Other than the an­ti­in­cum­bency and cor­rect choice of can­di­dates, it is the rebel in Pun­jabis which helped AAP do so well here.” Co­me­dian-tur ned-politi­cian Bhag­want Mann had the last laugh with a record mar­gin of over two lakh votes in Sangrur against SAD’s tallestleaderandMP,Sukhde­vSingh Dhindsa. Thank­ing the people of Pun­jab,Man­ntookadi­gattherul­ing govern­ment on Fri­day. He said the Pun­jab chief min­is­ter used to dis­miss him as a co­me­dian. “Now, it is the deputy chief min­is­ter (Sukhbir Singh Badal) who is left to crack jokes,” he quipped. InFarid­kot,Pro­fes­sorSad­huSingh of AAP de­feated SAD’s Paramjit Kaur Gul­shan, an­other sit­ting MP, by over 1.7 lakh votes. Fate­hgarh Sahib was also one of the sur­prises, where AAP’s Harinder Singh Khalsa, for­mer Am­bas­sador to Nor­way, de­feated Congress vet­eran Sadhu Singh by over 54,000 votes.

But per­haps the more per­ti­nent fron­ton­whichtheaa­maad­mis­made their pres­ence felt is in snatch­ing away Congress votes. Se­nior Supreme Court lawyer HS Phoolka fin­ished sec­ond to Congress’ Ravneet Singh Bittu by a nar­row mar­gin of 18,000 votes.

In Anand­pur Sahib, SAD’s Prem Singh Chan­du­ma­jra — who had lost three elec­tions in a row, two As­sem­bly polls in 2007 and 2012 and LokSab­hapollsin2009—won­thanks to a three lakh-plus votes cast to AAP’s Him­mat Singh Shergill. This largely re­sulted in de­feat of Congress’ Am­bika Soni.

Bhag­want Mann won Sangrur seat with a record mar­gin

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