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Posted at: May 24, 2019, 7:01 AM; last updated: May 24, 2019, 8:12 AM (IST)

Capt helps Cong survive Modi wave

Countering two-year anti-incumbency, CM improves party tally from three in 2014 elections to eight
Capt helps Cong survive Modi wave
Congress’ Ravneet Singh Bittu celebrates his victory with party workers in Ludhiana on Thursday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Rajmeet Singh 
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 23

Bucking the national trend of massive pro-Narendra Modi wave, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh steered the Congress to a commendable performance in the state, winning eight of the 13 seats with a good margin.

Establishing himself as the tallest leader in the party who punctured the BJP’s nationalism narrative in the border state to a large extent and countering the two-year anti-incumbency factor, the CM improved the party tally from three in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to eight this time. 

On the contrary, the Congress’ in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh — where the party was voted to power six months ago — has registered a dismal performance.

Amid Navjot Singh Sidhu’s “friendly-match” jibe, aimed at the Chief Minister, Akali Dal candidates Sukhbir Singh Badal and Harsimrat Kaur Badal managed to win the Bathinda and Ferozepur seats, clearly indicating the resurgence of the party, despite the Congress claiming to have decimated the Badals on the emotive sacrilege issue.

In Hoshiarpur, the BSP factor played a disadvantage for the Congress. Similar scenario prevailed in some pockets of Jalandhar and Nawanshahr, though the party won these seats.

Crediting the win to aggressive work by party ministers, MLA and other leaders, Capt Amarinder said overall, the people of Punjab had responded to the government’s development and welfare programmes, including farm debt waiver and employment generation. 

The sacrilege issues certainly worked against the Badals, he said, adding that Hindutva did not impact the polls in Punjab.

Meanwhile, on losing the Bathinda and Gurdaspur seats, The CM said the state Congress would introspect on why three areas in Bathinda proved weak for the party and also why Sunil Jakhar lost to Sunny Deol despite his hard work. “I do not understand people’s preference for a Bollywood star over an experienced leader,” he said, hoping that the Indian democracy would evolve more in coming years.

Talking about Modi, the CM said now that he had won the elections, he should not do anything to destroy India’s secular credentials. Capt Amarinder said he doesn’t agree with the brand of nationalism being promoted by the BJP, as every citizen of India was a nationalist and the nation’s strength lays in its diversity. 

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