Amarinder Singh saves the day for Congress with a sweep in Punjab

Aparna Parekh
Patiala: Congress workers celebrate with a poster of PPCC President Capt. Amarinder Singh the party's thumping victory in the State Assembly polls outside his residence in Patiala on Saturday. PTI Photo

Patiala: Congress workers celebrate with a poster of PPCC President Capt. Amarinder Singh the party’s thumping victory in the State Assembly polls outside his residence in Patiala on Saturday. PTI Photo

After the Uttar Pradesh debacle, the Congress has much to owe to Captain Amarinder Singh for scripting a sweep across the state. Congress has stormed back to power with a near 2/3rd majority in the state.

As expected, the BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal alliance captured the third spot in the tally, with the BJP winning just 3 seats. In 2012, the alliance managed 68 seats with the BJP winning 12 of them.

A distant second spot went to the new entrant Aam Admi Party. But Arvind Kejriwal’s party could not win more than 20 seats in the 117-seat Assembly.

A very high anti-incumbency against the present BJP-SAD government and Amarinder Singh’s hard work on the ground paved the way for Congress’ landslide win. In the last Assembly polls, Congress had won 46 seats. This time around, Congress managed to add another 31 seats to the tally.

Though the Captain won the Patiala seat with a huge margin of 52,407 votes, he lost from Lambi to CM Parkash Singh Badal.

“People voted out Akalis, who destroyed Punjab and rejected the AAP, who came more like a summer storm,” Amarinder Singh said in his victory speech.

“Committed to good governance, tackling drug menace, besides health and education will be priority,” he added.

Meanwhile, a defeated CM said,”SAD will discuss the reasons for the defeat of the party in the assembly elections.”

Among the key contests, cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu who joined the Congress won from Amritsar East constituency.

Congress candidate and former Indian hockey captain Pargat Singh retained his Jalandhar Cantt seat. Pargat, an Olympian, had won the 2012 assembly polls on a SAD ticket. Last year, he switched over to Congress after he raised a banner of revolt against the Akali Dal.

Former Punjab CM and Congress candidate Rajinder Kaur Bhattal was defeated by Akali candidate and cabinet minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa.