Punjab is AAP’s Sole Consolation
Cornering Cong & SAD-BJP, party wins 4 seats
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