- AAP stormed to power in Punjab, bagging a record 92 of the 117 seats.
- AAP served defeat to Congress and the SAD-BSP combined.
The Aam Aadmi Party Thursday stormed to power in Punjab, bagging a record 92 of the 117 seats by decimating the Congress and the SAD-BSP combine, and handing a defeat to several stalwarts including chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Parkash Singh Badal, and Amarinder Singh. While the AAP bagged three-fourths of the seats, the Congress won 18, the Shiromani Akali Dal three, the BJP two, and the BSP just one. An independent also emerged victoriously. The AAP will now form its second government in the country after the one led by Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi.
Kejriwal hailed the party's performance in Punjab as a "revolution" while his party leader Raghav Chadha said the AAP will emerge as the replacement of the Congress at the national level in the coming days. The Congress had won 87 seats in the 1992 assembly elections, which was the highest tally after the reorganization of Punjab in 1966.
Political stalwarts like Channi, Parkash Singh Badal, Amarinder Singh, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sukhbir Singh Badal had to face the drubbing.
Channi was defeated by the AAP's Labh Singh Ugoke with a margin of 37,558 votes from Bhadaur. He also lost from Chamkaur Sahib, where he was defeated by the AAP's Charanjit Singh by a margin of 7,942 votes.
SAD patriarch and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal (94), the oldest candidate in the fray, lost to AAP's Gurmeet Singh Khudian from his traditional Lambi seat in Muktsar district by a margin of 11,396 votes. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal lost to the AAP's Jagdeep Kamboj from Jalalabad seat in Fazilka district by a margin of 30,930 votes. Amarinder Singh, 79, lost to AAP’s Ajit Pal Singh Kohli from Patiala (Urban) by a margin of 19,873 votes.
Punjab Congress chief Sidhu, senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia and several Punjab ministers also faced defeat. AAP's chief ministerial face Bhagwant Mann won from Dhuri by a huge margin of 58,206 votes.
In the 2017 Punjab assembly polls, the Congress had ended the SAD-BJP's 10-year rule by bagging 77 seats. The AAP had managed to get 20 seats while the SAD-BJP had won 18 seats and two seats went to the Lok Insaaf Party. “Many congratulations to the people of Punjab for this revolution," Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi. He also posted a picture of him standing with party's chief ministerial face Mann. Mann said the oath-taking ceremony of the new Punjab cabinet will be held at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in Nawanshahr district. Mann said no government office will display photographs of the chief minister. Instead, photos of Bhagat Singh and B R Ambedkar will be put on walls in government offices
Appealing to people to work unitedly, Mann said those who did not vote for AAP need not to worry as the government will work for all sections of society. Rival parties also congratulated AAP.
“I humbly accept the verdict of the people of Punjab and Congratulate @AamAadmiParty and their elected CM @BhagwantMann Ji for the victory. I hope they will deliver on the expectations of people," said Channi.
Sidhu also congratulated the AAP. "The voice of the people is the voice of God . Humbly accept the mandate of the people of Punjab . Congratulations to Aap !!!" he tweeted.
Former CM Amarinder Singh said he accepted the verdict of people with all humility. He had floated the Punjab Lok Congress after quitting the Congress last year owing to his unceremonious exit as the CM.
SAD's Sukhbir Singh Badal said his party accept the people's mandate whole-heartedly. "I am grateful to lakhs of Punjabis who placed their trust in us & to to SAD-BSP workers for their selfless toil. We will continue to serve them with humility in the role they have assigned to us," he tweeted.
The AAP’s Raghav Chadha said people have chosen the Bhagwant Mann and Kejriwal model of governance. There was jubilation in the AAP camp right since morning as early trends started pouring in. Lakhwinder, an AAP supporter in Kharar, said “Those parties which until yesterday were questioning the exit poll surveys which showed clear majority to AAP will have no face to show now."
Abhishek Garg, another AAP supporter, said people were fed up with traditional parties and had given their full backing to the "Kejriwal model of governance". The results also showed that the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, a political outfit floated by various farmer bodies which contested the Punjab polls, failed to make any mark.
The AAP's vote percentage was over 42 per cent as compared to 22.98 per cent of the Congress while SAD got 18.38 per cent, the BJP got 6.60 per cent and the BSP 1.77 per cent. The NOTA share was 0.71 per cent. Meanwhile, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal called a meeting of its core committee at 2 PM on March 14 at the party’s Chandigarh headquarters to analyze the election results. Punjab had gone to polls on February 20 and registered a voter turnout of 71.95 per cent.
The SAD and Congress have alternatively been forming governments in the state. The Congress fought the elections with Channi as its chief ministerial candidate, hoping for the consolidation of the SC votes. The SAD contested the polls in alliance with the BSP after breaking electoral ties with the BJP over the farm laws issue.
The BJP, which used to be a junior partner during its alliance with the SAD, fought this election with the Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led SAD (Sanyukt).