PUNJAB ELECTIONS: Hindus, Urban Populace Prop Up Congress While Rejecting AAP
CHANDIGARH – Other than getting hold of the Dalit votes that had drifted away from it, ruthless voting by Hindu and Urban populace scripted the spectacular and historic victory for the Congress in Punjab.
According to a thorough tabulation of the poll data, of the 77 seats in its kitty, at least 29 segments are those which are either urban or have Hindu business community as majority voters. Significantly, the party won 27 such seats with a margin of more than 10,000 votes.
That there was pro-Congress sentiment in such segments is evident from the fact that in seven constituencies having decisive Hindu vote share, the party candidates romped home by a victory margin of more than 30,000. In 20 such segments, the winning margin for the Congress candidates is more than 20,000 votes at a time when the contest was three cornered.
In Jalandhar city, the Congress won four seats (Jalandhar North, Jalandhar Central, Jalandhar Cantonment and Jalandhar West) by 32,291, 24078, 29124 and 17334 votes, respectively. In Jalandhar North segment, party candidate Bawa Henry, a Jat Sikh, defeated BJP’s sitting MLA KD Bhandari by the third biggest margin in these polls. The victory margin of 29,124 votes surprised even former Indian hockey skipper Pargat Singh.
In Amritsar city, except for Amritsar North where the Congress candidate won by 14,236 votes, the winning margin of party candidates in all four seats was more than 20,000 votes.
In Ludhiana city, the biggest surprise for the party came from Ludhiana East, where little-known candidate Sanjay Talwar won by 1,581 votes. Party wrested Ludhiana Central as Rakesh Pandey won by 5,132 votes. In Khanna, which has a significant chunk of Hindu votes, Gurkirat Kotli won by 20,591 votes.
The other urban seats won by the Congress included Sangrur where Vijay Inder Singla won by 30,812 votes.
In rural areas of Gurdaspur and Pathankot districts where Hindu population dominates, the Congress won Bhoa, Gurdaspur, Dinanagar by a margin of 27,496, 28,956 and 31,917 votes, respectively. Congress candidate from Pathankot won by a margin of 11,170 votes. In Dasuya and Mukerian, where the Rajput votes dominate, the winning margin remained 17, 338 and 23,126 votes, respectively. Traditionally Brahmin-dominated Ferozepur City and Anandpur Sahib seats gave Congress candidates a margin of 29,587 and 23,881 votes.
The other city areas won by the Congress included Hoshiarpur, Bathinda, Moga, Faridkot, Mohali and Rajpura.
As per pollsters, the biggest reason behind Hindu and Urban voters’ love for the Congress was the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) move to flirt with the Sikh radicals.
“AAP’s cosying up with radicals in India and abroad created a fear among the Hindus. After Maur blasts and Kejriwal’s move to spend a night a former terrorist’s house in Moga, Hindu votebank got consolidated in favour of Congress,” said senior journalist and former AAP leader Major Singh.
DECISIVE Party won 29 such seats by heavy margins, in 20 Hindu-dominated segments, Congress won by more than 20,000