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AAP appears set for clean sweep in Punjab, leading in 91 of 117 seats; Cong, SAD stalwarts, Amarinder loses

Chandigarh: The Aam Aadmi Party appeared set for a clean sweep in Punjab having taken lead in 91 of the 117 assembly seats after initial rounds of counting of votes on Thursday, with the party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal congratulating the people of the state for this revolution .

Trends available at 1 pm showed the ruling Congress, SAD-BSP combine and the BJP-PLC-SAD (Sanyukt) alliance appeared to be decimated.

Various exit polls predicted that the Aam Aadmi Party will form the next government in Punjab.

Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal and former CM Amarinder Singh were among the heavyweights who were trailing.

The Congress was leading in 17 seats, SAD in six, BJP two and Independent in one seat, according to trends available at 1 pm.

Channi and majority of his ministers, including Manpreet Singh Badal, O P Soni, Vijay Inder Singla, Raj Kumar Verka, Pargat Singh and Bharat Bhushan Ashu, were trailing.

As the trends started showing a clear lead to AAP, which made an impact in all the three regions — Malwa, Majha and Doaba — party workers burst into celebrations.

Kejriwal congratulated the people of Punjab.

“Many congratulations to the people of Punjab for this revolution, Kejriwal, the Delhi chief minister, said in a tweet in Hindi.

In the tweet, he also posted a picture of him standing with the AAP’s chief ministerial candidate and MP Bhagwant Mann, with both leaders flashing victory sign.

State Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu said his party humbly accepts the mandate of the people of the state.

He also congratulated the AAP.

“The voice of the people is the voice of God. Humbly accept the mandate of the people of Punjab. Congratulations to Aap!!!” he said in a tweet.

AAP senior leader Raghav Chadha said the party will emerge as the national and natural replacement of the Congress in the coming days.

“In the coming days AAP will become a national force…the party will emerge as the national and natural replacement of Congress,” Chadha said while addressing party workers at a rented accommodation of the party’s chief ministerial candidate Bhagwant Mann in Sangrur.

Chadha said that people of Punjab have chosen Bhagwant Mann and Kejriwal model of governance .

AAP leader and party’s Punjab affairs in-charge Jarnail Singh said that after Delhi, his party is sweeping Punjab.

“The people of the state had faced a lot of problems during previous regimes and had pinned hopes on AAP,” he said, adding that a new beginning for Punjab has started and state will become prosperous now.

Lakhwinder, an AAP supporter, was seen dancing to the beats of dhols in Kharar constituency.

“Those parties which until yesterday were questioning the exit poll surveys which showed clear majority to AAP will have no face to show now, he said, while distributing sweets to other supporters.

Among those who were trailing in the trends included Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. Channi is trailing from his seat Chamakur Sahib, from where he is sitting MLA as well as Bhadaur, the second seat from where he had entered the fray.

Former Chief Ministers Parkash Singh Badal, Amarinder Singh and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal were also trailing, early trends showed.

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal was also behind in his Jalalabad seat.

Counting of votes for 117 assembly seats in Punjab began on Thursday amid tight security arrangements.

Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia were trailing from Amritsar East seat. Sidhu is the sitting MLA from Amritsar East.

In Pathankot, Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma was leading over his nearest Congress rival and sitting MLA Amit Vij.

According to the trends, AAP’s vote percentage is 42.34 per cent, BJP’s 6.63, Congress’ 22.95, SAD’s 17.85 and BSP’s 1.91 per cent.

In the 2017 Punjab assembly polls, the Congress had ended the SAD-BJP’s 10-year rule by bagging 77 seats. The AAP had managed to get 20 seats, while the SAD-BJP had won 18 seats and two seats went to the Lok Insaaf Party.

In the 2022 elections, the 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 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 election with Charanjit Singh Channi as the chief ministerial candidate 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 in 2020 over the farm laws issue.

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 Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led SAD (Sanyukt).

 

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