Cong's saving grace, perfect 10 for BJP in Haryana

Cong's saving grace, perfect 10 for BJP in Haryana

Indian election officials show an open Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) to counting agents at a counting centre in Faridabad in the northern Indian state of Haryana. (Photo by AFP)

The Congress on Thursday won a majority of seats in Punjab, defying the nationwide saffron surge. In neighbouring Haryana, it was the BJP that romped home to a landslide victory, winning all the 10 seats, up by three seats since the last elections.

The Congress, under Capt Amarinder Singh in Punjab, managed to win 8 out the total 13 seats, increasing its tally from 3 seats in 2014. The combined tally of the Akali Dal-BJP was reduced to 4 seats, with the allies bagging two seats each.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which opened its account in parliament elections for the first time from Punjab five years ago by winning four seats, performed dismally and was reduced to just one seat from Sangrur.

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This seat too was won by the AAP solely based on the personal credibility of its nominee and sitting MP Bhagwant Mann. The alternative front, which was a conglomerate of six political outfits, was rejected by Punjab voters and failed to win any seat.

Sunil Jakhar, the Congress candidate and party president, who outclassed by Sunny Deol, the former tasting defeat at the hands of the debutante from Gurdaspur. Akali Dal president and former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal won his seat from Ferozpur with a convincing margin, while his wife and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur managed to win her traditional Bathinda seat.

Results in Haryana came as big shock for the Congress and the other Opposition parties, all facing a complete rout. The father-son duo: former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and three-term sitting MP Deepinder Hooda, lost their seats.

Opposition parties of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Janata Jananayak Party (JJP), carved out of the INLD following a split in the Chautala family, were also completely routed and failed to win a single seat. In fact, the INLD lost the two seats it won last time. The AAP in Haryana, an ally of the JJP, ended up as a non-entity.  

In Punjab, there was disillusionment both against the Akali Dal and the AAP. The SAD's setbacks were largely on account of the defection of senior leaders from the party and the blemish of sacrilege surrounding SAD leaders. The 2014 groundswell in favour of the AAP largely got transformed into votes for the Congress.

BJP candidate and actor Kirron Kher won the lone Lok Sabha seat from Chandigarh, defeating former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.