CHANDIGARH: Congress today made a resounding comeback in Punjab after a gap of a decade, getting an absolute majority in the 117-member Assembly.
Riding on anti-incumbency, the Congress under the leadership of Amarinder Singh decimated the SAD-BJP alliance winning 59 seats and was leading in 18 other seats.
With the ruling party facing a humiliating defeat, Chief Minister and Akali patriarch Parkash Singh Badal said he would be submitting his resignation to the Governor tomorrow.
Shiromani Akali Dal managed to win three seats and was ahead in 11 seats.
AAP, which was eyeing to wrest power, has won 13 seats so far and was leading in eight seats while ruling party BJP won from two seats and was leading in one seat. AAP’s ally Lok Insaf Party won in one seat and was leading in another.
Among key candidates, Congress party’s chief ministerial candidate Amarinder Singh won the Patiala seat with a huge margin of 52,407 votes as he defeated his nearest rival AAP candidate Balbir Singh.
SAD candidate and former Army Chief J J Singh finished theird by securing 11,677 votes.
Chief Minister Badal won from his traditional Lambi seat defeating his nearest rival Congress candidate Captain Amarinder Singh by 22,770 votes from Lambi Assembly constituency.
Badal, the SAD candidate, polled 66,375 votes while Singh secured 43,605 votes. The Chief Minister congratulated Congress President Amarinder Singh on his win and assured full support to him.
“SAD will discuss the reasons for the defeat of the party in the assembly elections,” he said.
A beaming Amarinder Singh thanked the people of the state for their overwhelming support.
“People voted out Akalis, who destroyed Punjab and rejected the AAP, who came more like a summer storm,” Singh said.
“Committed to good governance, tackling drug menace, besides health and education will be priority,” Singh said.
In the 2012 assembly elections, the SAD had won 56 seats and its ally BJP 12 seats.
Congress had won 46 and the remaining three seats had gone to Independents.
Independent candidate Aman Mani Tripathi today won Nautanwa seat in Mahrajganj by defeating nearest rival SP’s Kunwar Kaushal Kishore Singh alias Munna Singh by a margin of 32,478 votes.
After being denied Samajwadi Party ticket, Aman Mani, accused of his wife Sara Singh’s murder, contested the election from jail as an independent candidate and his campaigning was managed by his sisters Tanushri and Alankrita.
Aman Mani’s father, Amar Mani Tripathi, a former minister, is serving life term along with wife Madhu Mani for murdering poetess Madhumita Shukla in 2003.
Amar Mani was a four-time MLA from Nautanwa. PTI ABN DIP 03111602 NNNN
POLL; 2NDLD PUNJAB 2 LAST
Among the winners, Congress candidate and former Indian hockey captain Pargat Singh retained his Jalandhar Cantt seat by defeating Akali candidate Sarabjit Singh Makkar by 29,124 votes.
Pargat, an Olympian, polled 59,349 votes while SAD candidate got 30,225 votes. AAP candidate Harkrishan Singh Walia got 25,912 votes. Pargat had won the 2012 assembly polls on a SAD ticket. Last year, Pargat switched over to Congress after he raised a banner of revolt against the Akali Dal.
From Dakha, AAP candidate and noted Supreme Court lawyer H S Phoolka won, defeating his nearest rival Akali candidate Manpreer Singh Ayali by 4,169 votes
From Dirba, AAP candidate Harpal Cheema defeated Congress candidate Ajaib Singh by 1,645 votes and from Garhshankar, AAP candidate won by 1,650 votes by trouncing SAD candidate Surinder Singh.
In Jaitu, AAP candidate Baldev Singh defeated Congress candidate Mohammad Sadique by 9,993 votes.From Abohar seat, BJP candidate Arun Narang defeated Congress candidate and party’s senior leader Sunil Jakhar by 3,279 votes.
Former Punjab CM and Congress candidate Rajinder Kaur Bhattal was defeated by Akali candidate and cabinet minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa by 26,815 votes.
BJP candidate Tarun Chugh was defeated by Congress candidate O P Soni from Amritsar Central by margin of 21,116 votes.
Congress candidate Kanwarpal Singh won Anandpur Sahib seat by defeating his nearest rival BJP’s Parminder Sharma with a margin of 23,881 votes.
The seat was earlier held by cabinet minister Madan Mohan Mittal of the BJP.
Congress candidate Kanwar Pal Singh polled 60,800 votes while BJP candidate Parminder Sharma got 36,919 votes from Anandpur Sahib.
Aam Aadmi Party candidate Sanjeev Gautam secured 30,304 votes from this segment.
From Jalandhar-West, Congress candidate Sushil Kumar Rinku defeated Mahinder Pal Bhagat, who is BJP candidate and son of Cabinet Minister Chunni Lal Bhagat with a margin of 17,334 votes.Rinku polled 53,983 votes while Bhagat got 36,649 votes.
AAP candidate Darshan Lal Bhagat secured 15,364 votes.
From Bholath, AAP candidate Sukhpal Khaira won with a margin of 8,202 votes by defeating SAD candidate Yuvraj Bhupinder Singh.Khaira polled 48,873 votes while Yuvraj got 40,671 votes.
From Chabbewal seat, Congress candidate Raj Kumar won by a margin of 29,261 votes as he defeated his nearest rival SAD candidate Sohan Singh Thandal.Raj secured 57,857 votes while Thandal got 28,596 votes. However, AAP’s Raman Kumar won 20,505 votes.
From Fatehgarh Sahib, Congress candidate Kuljit Singh Nagra defeated SAD candidate Didar Singh Bhatti by a margin of 23,867 votes.Nagra polled 58,205 votes while Didar got 34,338 votes. AAP’s Lakhvir Singh secured 29,393 votes.
In Bhadaur, AAP candidate Pirmal Singh Dhaula defeated SAD candidate Balvir Singh Ghunas by 20,784 votes.From Jalandhar North, Congress candidate Avtar Singh Junior defeated BJP candidate K D Bhandari with a margin of 32,291 votes.
In Ludhiana Central, Congress candidate Surinder Dawar defeated BJP candidate Gurdev Sharma by 20,480 votes. From Pathankot, Congress nominee Amit defeated BJP candidate Ashwani Kumar by 11,170 votes.
In Rupnagar, AAP candidate Amarjit Singh Sandoa defeated Congress candidate Brinder Singh Dhillon by 23,707 votes.
From Tarn Taran, Congress candidate Dharambir Agnihotri defeated SAD candidate Harmeet Singh by 14,629 votes while from Amloh, Congress candidate Randeep Singh defeated SAD candidate Gurpreet Singh by 3,946 votes.