Congress sweeps Punjab in 3-way battle led by Captain Amarinder Singh

People of Punjab delivered decisive mandate during Assembly Election 2017 as Congress won the battle with 77 seats out of 117. Akali Dal-BJP combine which was fighting 10 years’ anti-incumbency reduced to 18 seats out of which BJP got just 3. The new comer Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 22 seats with total vote share of 25%. Although AAP fought the election with fierce campaign against both Akalis as well as Congress highlighting issues of corruption and drug menace; people of Punjab posed their faith in tried and tested leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh.

Congress won 77 seats with impressive vote share of 38.5% which resulted landslide victory. Importantly even during Lok Sabha 2014, BJP-Akali combine did not do well with just 6 seats out of 13. Since then not many corrective measures were taken by BJP to reverse the trend. Also, exodus of Navjot Singh Sindhu from BJP towards Congress played crucial role to make situation even worse. Navjot Sindhu was unhappy with BJP top brass as he was denied the ticket from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat which was fought by Arun Jaitley that time. Incidentally, Jaitley lost the election against Congress candidate Captain Amarinder Singh. Although Sidhu was offered Rajya Sabha seat by BJP; he was unhappy with his restricted role in home state of Punjab. As a result, Sindhu divorced BJP to look for newer option. AAP also failed to seal a deal with Sindhu resulting in him joining Congress.

Major credit of Congress victory goes to Captain who drove entire election campaign and worked hard to reverse the trend in favor of his party. The micro-management coupled with raising right issues to benefit from anger against ruling combine of Akali-BJP, Captain projected Congress as most credible alternative. Positive image of Amarinder Singh due to work done during his stint as Chief Minister in 2002-2007 also helped. Aam Aadmi Party although tried really hard, failed to erase its image as outsider which eventually made the difference. However, with 25% vote share and 22 seats AAP in alliance Lok Insaaf Party successfully established itself as main opposition party in Punjab. Not a bad for party which fought its first assembly election however with lot of scope for improvement.

The significance of Punjab Assembly Results should be analyzed from broader perspective that this is the first time since Lok Sabha 2014 BJP victory that Congress has managed to win an state election. With Uttar Pradesh giving thumping mandate to Narendra Modi led BJP; victory of Congress in Punjab would certainly help the morale of cadre. Also, it can create a belief that if strategy and hard work is combined then even impossible task of beating Narendra Modi is possible.


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