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  India   All India  24 May 2019  Amarinder Singh stops the Modi wave

Amarinder Singh stops the Modi wave

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 24, 2019, 2:55 am IST
Updated : May 24, 2019, 2:55 am IST

Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal won from Firozpur and his wife Union minister Harsimrat Kau Badal retained Bhatinda.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh
 Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh

New Delhi: The only state in northern India where the impact of the Modi wave seems to have been contained to some extent is Punjab where the Congress improved its performance over the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress won eight seats in Punjab as compared to the three in 2014. The turnaround in Punjab is largely attributed to the leadership of  Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

There was a minor setback for the Congress as its state unit chief Sunil Jhakar lost to Bollywood star Sunny Deol by a margin of almost 80,000 votes. Mr Jhakar was the the sitting Gurdaspur MP, a seat which he won during the byelections in 2017 following the demise of BJP’s MP and Bollywood star Vinod Khanna.

The Congress gained at the cost of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which could retain only one of its four seats. The AAP held on to Sangrur, where Mr Bhagwant Mann won by more than 95,000 votes.

Both Akali Dal and BJP won two seats. Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal won from Firozpur and his wife Union minister Harsimrat Kau Badal retained Bhatinda.

The BJP’s Som Prakash won from Hoshiarpur. State political observers feel that the only reason for the Congress’ improved performance is the leadership  of Capt Singh despite reports of increasing differences between him and his minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

According to Mr Tanmesh Sharma, a former professor of political science at Punjab University, the main reason for Congress doing well in the state was the strong leadership of Capt. Singh. “The trend witnessed during the Assembly elections continued during the Lok Sabha polls as the voters, importantly even the Hindus, supported the Congress,” he added.

The BJP retained its winning streak in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, retaining its four and five seats respectively. Senior Congress leader and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat lost from Nainital to BJP’s Ajay Bhatt by almost three lakh votes.

In Himachal Pradesh, Mr Anurag Thakur, an important BJP leader, won by nearly 3.8 lakh votes.

A key factor for the victory was the BJP focus on security and  nationalism due to the presence of a large number of serving and former personnel.

Tags: 2019 lok sabha elections, amarinder singh