With the 'Exit Poll' results predicting a close fight between the main Opposition Congress and new entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab Assembly polls, the stage appears set for a change of government in Punjab as all surveys predicted a wipe out for the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bhartiya Janta Party (SAD-BJP).
With some surveys predicted a Congress victory, others also predicted the poll result in favour of AAP which indicated the close fight between the two parties are having in the state ruled by the SAD-BJP for the past decade.
While AAP's fate depends largely on politically significent Malwa region, the Congress appears to have done better in the remaining two regions — Doaba and Majha.
Around 1.4 Crore people in Punjab voted for the state's 117 Assembly seats on 4 February. There were some 1,100 candidates in the triangular contest between the ruling combine, the Congress and AAP, which contested the Assembly elections in the state for the first time.
Expressing confidence of his party forming the next government in the state with a clear majority, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh said that his party would attain a clear majority with 62-65 seats in its kitty.
"The exit polls were merely indicative of the positive trend in favour of the Congress, but the actual results would be completely in favour of the party," he added.
The SAD-BJP was obviously headed for a total washout in these polls, with the huge pent-up resentment against their misrule having perceptibly translated into negative votes, said Captain Amarinder.
He added that the people were evidently having also been wary of experimenting with the AAP which had failed to prove its credentials as a serious player in the political arena.
It's miserable performance in the Delhi government and the erosion of its reputation in Punjab as a result of widespread allegations of corruption and other misdemeanours had led to AAP losing the advantage it had seized in Punjab during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, said the Congress leader.
The Congress chief ministerial candidate had earlier, on the occasion of the launch of his authorised biography, said that his own gut feeling, based on his political experience, suggested that the party would secure between 62 and 65 seats.