Arvind Kejriwal's AAP makes mark in Punjab; Slight gain for SAD-BJP

Written by PTI | Chandigarh | Updated: May 17 2014, 03:42am hrs
Making its debut in Lok Sabha polls, AAP today bagged four seats in Punjab where the ruling SAD-BJP combine failed to score any significant gains despite the Narendra Modi factor even as Congress took a beating in the state.

BJP increased its tally from one to two but suffered a jolt as its senior leader Arun Jaitley lost to Congress's Amarinder Singh in Amritsar, the seat which Navjot Singh Sidhu had won in 2009.

SAD remained stuck at four seats as in 2009 but it was new entrant AAP which emerged as a force in the state by clinching four seats, its most significant success anywhere in the country.

Of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, AAP took four, ruling SAD won four and its ally BJP bagged two. Congress had to be content with three seats.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Congress had picked up eight seats while SAD had taken four with BJP following on one.

But in a major setback for BJP, its leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley was defeated by former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in Amritsar, which was the most-watched contest of the polls in Punjab.

What was surprising in the state was the emergence of AAP. The party bagged the seats of Sangrur, Faridkot(R), Fatehgarh Sahib(R) and Patiala, from where Union Minister Preneet Kaur lost.

Comedian-turned-politician Bhagwant Mann bagged Sangrur seat by defeating Rajya Sabha MP and SAD nominee Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and sitting Congress MP Vijay Inder Singla. Mann registered a win by 2,11,721 votes, the highest by any candidate in the state.

BJP's Vijay Sampla won by the lowest margin in the state of 13,582 votes against Congress MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee in the Hoshiarpur(R) seat.

Sitting SAD MP Paramjeet Kaur Gulshan tasted defeat at the hands of AAP's Prof Sadhu Singh in Fardikot(R) seat while AAP's Harinder Singh Khalsa downed Congress candidate and sitting MLA Sadhu Singh from Fatehgarh Sahib(R).

AAP's Dr Dharamvira Gandhi drubbed Amarinder Singh's wife Preneet Kaur in Patiala, the seat which has been a bastion for their family.

Although BJP lost Amritsar, the party won the Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur(R) seats.

Former Union minster and BJP candidate Vinod Khanna thumped Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa in Gurdaspur.

SAD retained the Bathinda, Ferozepur and Khadoor Sahib seats and managed to wrest the Anandpur Sahib seat from Congress.

In Bathinda, sitting MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the wife of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, defeated her cousin and Congress candidate Manpreet Singh Badal, the estranged nephew of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

SAD MP Sher Singh Ghubaya retained the Ferozepur seat by beating the leader of opposition in Punjab Assembly and Congress candidate Sunil Kumar Jakhar.

Veteran SAD leader and former minister Ranjeet Singh Brahmpura won from Khadoor Sahib by outclassing Congress' Harminder Sngh Gill. In the 2009 polls, SAD's Rattan Singh Ajnala had won the seat. However, he was replaced by Brahmpura after Ajnala's name got embroiled in a drugs case.

Congress veteran and Rajya Sabha MP Ambika Soni lost to former MP and SAD candidate Prem Singh Chandumajra in Anandpur Sahib. In 2009, the seat was won by Congress' Ravneet Singh Bittu, who fought and won this time from Ludhiana.

Congress' tally fell from eight in 2009 to just three in 2014. Besides Amarinder, the face saving grace for the party were Santokh Singh Choudhary in Jalandhar(R), who defeated SAD candidate and sitting MLA Pawan Kumar Teenu.

Late chief minister Beant Singh's grandson Ravneet Singh Bittu, who was fielded by Congress from Ludhiana after sitting MP Manish Tewari opted out of the race citing health reasons, got the better of AAP's Harvinder Singh Phoolka. In 2009, Bittu had contested sucessfully from the Anandpur Sahib seat.

While BJP failed to retain Amritsar, the seat held previously by cricketer-turned-politician and thrice MP Sidhu, Congress lost its hold on Gurdaspur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur, Patiala and Sangrur seats.