Punjab defied the “Modi wave” yet again by giving eight of the 13 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress and reducing the number of seats won by the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya-Janata Party (SAD-BJP) to four from six even as the Aam Aadmi Party managed to retain one of its seats.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Modi wave had swept across northern India but Punjab had defied the same as then ruling SAD-BJP had won just six seats while the remaining seven were won by the Aam Aadmi Party (four) and the Congress (three).
The trend remained the same in 2019 with voters in Punjab showing scant regard to the persona of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government’s performance in past five years which are believed to have contributed to the BJP’s spectacular victory across the country.
Even the four seats won by the SAD-BJP can’t be attributed to “Modi wave” as three of these seats were won by high profile candidates who ensured their victory on their own.
While the SAD won two seats, Ferozepur and Bathinda where party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal were the candidates, the BJP won the two seats Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur.
In Gurdaspur, actor Sunny Deol registered victory on his electoral debut by defeating Congress candidate and state party president Sunil Jakahr by over 77,000 votes.
Despite an outsider, Sunny Deol managed to get massive response in the constituency even as he lacks the oratory skills of a seasoned politician and grasp over poll issues, local or national.
The ruling Congress candidate Jakhar had won the by-poll for Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency by a margin of more than 1,93,000 votes after it fell vacant following the death of actor-turned-member of Parliament (MP) Vinod Khanna.
Even the Aam Aadmi Party, which had surprised many by winning four seats in the 2014 general election, retained the Sangrur seat with its candidate Bhagwant Mann winning by a margin of over 109642 votes.
The Congress won Amritsar, Faridkot, Anandpur Sahib, Jalandhar, Khadoor Sahib, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala seats. Among these seats, the party candidates were maintaining a healthy margin in the range of 19,000 votes to 1.60 lakh votes on six constituencies — Amritsar, Faridkot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Khadoor Sahib, Ludhiana and Patiala.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh’s wife and Congress candidate, Preneet Kaur, was leading with a margin of more than 1.62 lakh votes against the SAD’s Surjit Singh Rakhra and Nawan Punjab Party candidate Dharamvira Gandhi.
Ravneet Singh Bittu, the sitting Congress MP from Ludhiana, was ahead of his rival with margin of more than 76,000 votes. Congress candidate Jasbir Singh Dimpa was leading by a margin of more than 1.16 lakh votes against SAD candidate and former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur in Khadoor Sahib seat.
In Amritsar, sitting Congress MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla was leading by over 98,000 votes against Union minister and BJP candidate Hardeep Singh Puri. SAD chief Sukhbir Badal was leading by more than 1.98 lakh votes over the Congress’ Sher Singh Ghubaya, who had been a two-time MP and quit the SAD before polls.
In Bathinda, an SAD bastion, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal was leading by around 21,000 votes against Congress candidate Amrinder Singh Raja Warring.
In Hoshiarpur seat, BJP candidate Som Prakash was leading by 46,000 votes over Congress candidate Raj Kumar Chabbewal.
In terms of vote share, the Congress got 40.17 per cent votes even the SAD, which contested on 10 seats, got 27.66 per cent votes. The SAD’s alliance partner, BJP – which contested on three seats – got 9.51 per cent votes. The AAP registered major drop in its vote share with the party getting just 7.22 per cent votes as compared to 24.4 per cent votes in 2014 polls.
The Congress (33.1 per cent votes in 2014), SAD (26.3 per cent I 2014) and BJP (8.7 per cent in 2014), all managed to increase their vote share as compared to 2014 polls.