Some cabinet ministers were among the several top leaders of ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and its ally BJP who lost assembly polls in Punjab where the Congress returned to power but not before a few of its senior leaders had a taste of defeat. While the Congress got a thumping win, rookie Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerged a second, relegating the ruling SAD-BJP alliance to poor third at the hustings.
The Congress win was accompanied by a bitter experience as a few of its towering leaders who failed to emerge victorious.
Congress senior leader Sunil Kumar Jakhar, son of late Balram Jakhar, lost to political greenhorn Arun Narnag of BJP from his pocket borough seat of Abohar. Another party veteran Mohinder Singh Kaypee failed to secure victory from the Adampur seat where he was was defeated by Pawan Kumar Tinu of SAD.
Businessman-turned-politician Kewal Dhillon of Congress lost his traditional Barnala seat to Gurmeet Singh Meet of AAP.
Singer-turned-politician Mohammad Sadiq of Congress lost from his bastion Jaitu to Baldev Singh of AAP. Another strong Congressman Jagmohan Singh Kang bit the dust after losing his traditional Kharar seat to journalist-turned-politician Kanwar Sandhu of AAP.
Congress Punjab chief Amarinder Singh failed to beat Akali heavyweight and five time Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi, a pocket borough of the Badal family. Amarinder, the chief ministerial face of the grand old party, had contest from Patiala as well as Lambi. Former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal of Congress lost out on luck in her traditional seat Lehragagga to SAD’s Parminder Singh Dhindsa.
Former Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar’s daughter-in-law Karan Kaur of Congress lost to Kanwarjit Singh of SAD.
Congress firebrand leader Ajit Inder Singh Mofar lost to Dilraj Singh of SAD from Sardulgarh. The results were a shock for heavy weights of SAD, including majority of the ministers, who failed to find favour from electors. Cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike of SAD bit the dust from his Attari seat to Tarsem Singh of Congress.
Other cabinet ministers who failed to win included Tota Singh (Dharamkot), Janmeja Singh Sekhon (Maur), Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, a relative of Badal from Patti seat, Sikander Singh Maluka (Rampura Phul), Surjit Singh Rakhra (Samana), Sohan Singh Thandal (Chhabewal).
Other SAD senior leaders who turned unlucky included Yuvraj Bhupinder Singh, son-in-law of former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur (Bholath), Sucha Singh Langha (Dera Baba Nanak), Ravinder Singh Brahmpura, son of SAD MP Ranjeet Singh Brahmpura (Khadoor Sahib), Virsa Singh Valtoha (Khem Karan), Ajit Singh Shant (Mehal Kalan), Sewa Singh (Qadian) and Upinderjit Kaur (Sultanpur Lodhi).
BJP failed to provide much needed support to its ally SAD at the hustings as the party’s many top guns missing the shot at victory.
BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh lost from Amritsar central to Congress stalwart O P Soni.
Badal’s political advisor Tikshan Sud lost from Hoshiarpur seat to Sunder Shyam Arora of Congress. BJP senior leader Arunesh Kumar lost his traditional Mukerian seat, while former Punjab BJP chief Ashwini Kumar lost to Amit of Congress from his traditional seat Pathankot.