Post-poll survey: Punjab, an outlier in the North

The only State in the region where Congress won handsomely

Updated - May 30, 2019 12:21 am IST

Published - May 30, 2019 12:02 am IST

Punjab is the only State in the northern region and the second after Kerala in the whole of India where the Congress performed well, bagging eight seats.

Table 1: Vote share and seat won by the parties in Punjab


The older order of bipolarity, with the SAD-BJP and the Congress forming the two poles, has returned to the State. The AAP, which emerged as the main Opposition party in the 2017 Assembly election, had to be satisfied with only one seat and 7% of the vote share. The Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance improved their vote shares by seven and two percentage points, respectively.

Table 2: Congress dented the AAP’s support base


The Congress has secured a 40% vote share and the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP in alliance has bagged a 37% vote share and four seats, a loss of two seats from the 2014 tally.


The AAP’s loss has benefited the Congress as one-fourth (24%) of those who had voted for the former in 2014 voted for the Congress in 2019. The Congress also attracted close to one-fifth (18%) of the voters who voted for the SAD-BJP alliance in 2014; only one in every 10 (10%) of the Congress voters voted for the alliance in 2019.

Table 4: Disenchantment against SAD among Sikh voters and it directed their vote choice


Hindu voters who voted for the AAP have shifted towards the SAD-BJP alliance. The data suggest that in 2014, 30% of the Hindu voters had voted for the AAP, but in 2019, 44% of them voted for the SAD-BJP alliance, 22 percentage points higher than the last election. The Congress also improved its vote share among Hindu voters by 15 percentage points. This shift can be explained through the caste divide among Hindu voters.

Table 5: Issues considered by the voters while voting


The Congress improved its performance among Hindu OBCs; among this caste group, the party’s vote share went from 34% in 2014 to 61% in 2019. Hindu upper castes were swayed towards the SAD-BJP alliance and the alliance has received close to three-fifths (58%) of this vote. Caste divide was visible among Sikh voters also.

Sikhs, mainly Jat Sikhs, who traditionally voted for the SAD, shifted towards others. Close to two out of five (37%) Jat Sikhs in 2019 voted for the Congress, which was 14 percentage point higher than in the last Lok Sabha election.

Table 6: Preference for Modi as PM was the lowest in Punjab amongst all Congress ruled states


However, both the Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance saw a decline in their support among Dalit Sikhs.

The Modi wave was not evident in Punjab. Only three of every 10 respondents preferred Narendra Modi as the next Prime Minister. There was also not much traction for the BJP narrative of national security or the Balakot effect.

Table 7: Balakot didn’t affected Punjab voters’ voting preferences


(Jagrup Singh Sekhon is a Professor at the Department of Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; Ashutosh Kumar is a Professor at the Department of Political Science at Panjab University, Chandigarh; and Jyoti Mishra is researcher at Lokniti-CSDS)

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