Tribune News Service
Bathinda, February 19
The farmers’ issue and the resultant rift with the Bharatiya Janata Party seem to have cost Akalis the civic body elections in Bathinda.
The Akalis, who won Bathinda in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, appeared to have ceded ground yet again to Congress, which came back strong in the civic body elections after it lost the seat in 2019 in a closely contested race in the general election.
Aam Aadmi Party, which is the principal opposition party in the state legislature after the 2017 elections, appeared to have made some gains these elections, although it still remained a distant third.
Congress got 63,633 votes these elections—almost as much as the votes it got for assembly elections in 2017—against SAD’s 37,183 and AAP’s 17,883. For comparison, the Congress got 63,942 votes in 2017, AAP came second with 45,462 and SAD trailed at 37,177. The 2019 election however saw SAD upset Congress’s applecart---SAD polled 63,558 against Congress’s 59,815, and AAP’s 9,329.
These civic body elections also saw Congress and SAD in a direct contest in most wards. AAP gave a tough fight in eight wards—2, 15, 16, 24, 32, 33, 38, and 40—and came second there. Among AAP’s candidates lost in a close battle was Mandeep Kaur Ramgarhia from Ward 33, who lost with the lowest margin.
SAD’s former ally BJP meanwhile continued to struggle, coming a distant second in just two wards—35 and 49.
Congress candidate Kamlesh Rani beat BJP’s Shama Rani lost by 633 votes in ward 49 and Congress’s Raman Goyal beat BJP’s Seema Arora by 1,134 votes in ward 35.
Four wards—12, 21, 29, and 42—saw independents giving a tough fight to the winning candidates.
Political experts claim SAD’s perceived dithering in taken a stand over the farmers’ issue may have cost them the elections. Another reason could be SAD’s parting of ways with the BJP over the issue, causing a fall in their votes.
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