Congress Sweeps Punjab
Chandigarh: Congress party has swept the recently held polls in Punjab. The Congress bagged 77 out of 117 seats in Punjab Assembly according to the results announced on Saturday. The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP coalition have come third with 18 seats conceding second place to the five-year old Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) which got 20 seats. Two seats were won by independents.
AAP which was very hopeful of winning majority of seats had failed to compete with the Congress. The exit polls gave AAP equal chance at 55 seats against 55 for the Congress. But the Congress had surprised political observers with its excellent performance. Captain Amarinder Singh who led the Congress party in the polls had said he did not expect this kind of a victory. He expected a close fight and a narrow win. Former cricketer Bavjot Sindhu has contributed significantly to the Congress victory.
The Jat Sikhs who have been traditional supporters of the Akali Dal did not desert the party for AAP which was hoping to get their votes. That explains the small number of seats in AAP account.
The Akali Dal contested for 94 seats and the BJP fielded its candidate for the rest of 23 seats. But the double anti-incumbency sentiment had its impact in Akali-BJP alliance. The ruling party had to pay heavy price for allowing the drug mafia to thrive causing untold misery to the people. Corruption was rampant in Punjab during the last ten years of Akali Dal-BJP rule. The hold of Prakash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal on party and government was resented by the people.