Dancing to frenetic bhangra tunes, supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were celebrating on Thursday as the party looked all set to form the next government in Punjab, even as several heavyweights of the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) were trounced by the new kid on the block
Celebrations broke out in most parts of the State in the morning as the trends indicated a landslide victory for the AAP. In Sangrur, where Bhagwant Mann, the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate resides, thousands of party supporters and leaders gathered and were seen dancing and singing. Elated over the party’s performance, waving the party flags supporters kept chanting ‘jhadu phir gaya’ - meaning the broom (AAP) has swept the polls. Elaborate security arrangements were also deployed near Mr. Mann’s residence and elsewhere.
Mr. Mann won from Dhuri securing 82,023 votes, defeating his nearest rival Dalvir Singh Goldy of the Congress. The other prominent winners included leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema of the AAP from Dirba.
Among the veterans and stalwarts who faced defeat in the Assembly polls were three former chief ministers — Charanjit Singh Channi, who lost both from Chamkaur Sahib and Bhadaur constituencies, five-time CM and SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal, who lost from Lambi to AAP’s Gurmeet Singh, and Captain (retd.) Amarinder Singh, who was trounced in Patiala by AAP’s Ajitpal Singh Kohli. The SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal lost in Jalalabad to AAP’s Jagdeep Kamboj.
The keenly watched electoral contest between Congress’s Navjot Singh Sidhu and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Bikram Singh Majithia in Punjab’s Amritsar (East) constituency saw both of them losing to AAP’s Jeevan Jot Kaur.
A somber atmosphere prevailed outside the offices and residences of leaders of Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress. The residence of outgoing Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi in Morinda was desolate as were the Congress and SAD party offices across the State.
After the drubbing, Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “The voice of the people is the voice of God …. Humbly accept the mandate of the people of Punjab …. Congratulations to AAP !!!”