Chandigarh, March 10
The Aam Aadmi Party stormed into power in Punjab, winning 92 seats, according to the Election Commission’s website.
In the 117-member Assembly, a party needs to get 59 seats to form the government.
The Congress had won 18 seats, showing the ruling outfit performed poorly.
Meanwhile, in a tweet Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "I would like to congratulate AAP for their victory in the Punjab elections. I assure all possible support from the Centre for Punjab’s welfare."
While the SAD won three seats, it’s ally BSP won one, and the BJP won two seats and one seat went to an Independent candidate.
AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal hailed the party’s performance in Punjab as a “revolution”.
The AAP tsunami made several stalwarts, including three former chief ministers, bite the dust.
Apart from Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, who lost from his Chamkaur Sahib as well as Bhadaur, former CMs Parkash Singh Badal, Amarinder Singh and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal were also among the heavyweights who were defeated.
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia and several Punjab Ministers also tasted defeat.
Prominent winners included AAP’s chief ministerial face Bhagwant Mann from Dhuri, Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema from Dirba, Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Kumar Sharma from Pathankot, Congress leader Pratap Singh Bajwa from Qadian and minister Rana Gurjeet Singh from Kapurthala.
In the 2017 Punjab assembly polls, the Congress had ended the SAD-BJP’s 10-year rule by bagging 77 seats. AAP had managed to get 20 seats while the SAD-BJP had won 18. Two seats went to the Lok Insaaf Party.
“Many congratulations to the people of Punjab for this revolution,” Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.
He also posted a picture of himself standing with AAP’s chief ministerial face Bhagwant Mann.
Mann won with a margin of 58,206 votes from Dhuri, defeating Congress candidate Dalvir Singh Goldy.
The oath-taking ceremony of the new Punjab cabinet will be held at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in Nawanshahr district.
Mann said no government office will display photograph of the chief minister.
Instead, photos of Bhagat Singh and B R Ambedkar will be put on walls in government offices.
“The oath-taking ceremony will not be held at the Raj Bhawan, but at Khatkar Kalan. The date will be announced later,” Mann said addressing party workers and supporters at Dhuri.
Appealing to people to work unitedly, Mann said those who did not vote for APP need not worry as the government will work for all sections of society.
On the other hand, the rival parties accepted the people’s verdict and congratulated AAP.
“I humbly accept the verdict of the people of Punjab and Congratulate @AamAadmiParty and their elected CM @BhagwantMann Ji for the victory. I hope they will deliver on the expectations of people,” said Channi.
State Congress chief Navjot Sidhu in a tweet said, “The voice of the people is the voice of God. Humbly accept the mandate of the people of Punjab. Congratulations to Aap !!!”
Former CM and Punjab Lok Congress president Amarinder Singh said he accepted the verdict with all humility as democracy triumphed.
Amarinder Singh had floated his own party after quitting the Congress last year, owing to his unceremonious exit as the CM. He lost from his home turf Patiala Urban by a margin of 19,873 votes to AAP candidate Ajit Pal Singh Kohli.
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said that his party whole-heartedly and with total humility accepts the mandate given by the people of the state.
“We whole-heartedly & with total humility accept the mandate given by Punjabis. I am grateful to lakhs of Punjabis who placed their trust in us & to SAD-BSP workers for their selfless toil. We will continue to serve them with humility in the role they have assigned to us,” Sukhbir Badal tweeted.
AAP senior leader Raghav Chadha said the party will emerge as the national and natural replacement of the Congress in the coming days.
Chadha said people of Punjab have chosen Bhagwant Mann and the Kejriwal model of governance.
There was jubilation in the AAP camp right from the morning as early trends clearly put AAP away ahead of rivals.
Lakhwinder, an AAP supporter in Kharar, said, “Those parties which until yesterday were questioning the exit poll surveys, which showed clear majority to AAP, will have no face to show now.”
The results also showed that the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, a political outfit floated by various farmer bodies, failed to make any mark.
In the 2022 elections, AAP sought to project itself as an agent of change and designed its poll campaign likewise and accused its rivals of “looting” the state. It also announced its chief ministerial face ahead of polls to give clarity to voters.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress have alternatively been forming governments after the reorganisation of Punjab in 1966.
The Congress fought the elections with Charanjit Singh Channi as its CM face, hoping for the consolidation of the Scheduled Caste votes.
The stakes were also high for the SAD, which contested the polls in alliance with the BSP after breaking electoral ties with the BJP over farm laws.
The BJP, which used to be a junior partner during its alliance with the SAD, fought this election as a major partner after allying with the Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led SAD (Sanyukt). (With PTI inputs)
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