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Published On: Sat, Mar 11th, 2017

Punjab : Congress Wins, AAP’s Hopes Crushed

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amarinder-singh_650x400_81489117213NEW DELHI : Captain Amarinder Singh could not have hoped for a better 75th birthday. His party, the Congress, is making a comeback in Punjab after 10 years and he is expected to return as Chief Minister.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of Arvind Kejriwal, which had been tipped by many as the winner, is a poor second and the ruling Akali-BJP is last.The Congress is set to win a huge majority in Punjab. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of Arvind Kejriwal, which had been tipped by many as the winner, is a poor second and the ruling Akali-BJP is last.
“Arvind Kejriwal is a summer storm, he came and he’s gone,” Amarinder Singh quipped about the man who had repeatedly challenged him during the campaign.
The Congress is set for a comeback in Punjab after 10 years. The party is leading in over 70 seats. But the results strongly indicate that the Aam Aadmi Party’s dreams of seizing its second state after Delhi are over.
AAP is at the second spot, with the ruling Akali-BJP combine doing a little better than exit polls had predicted.Punjab has 117 seats, a party needs 59 to form the government.
“Arvind Kejriwal is a summer storm, he came and he’s gone,” Amarinder Singh quipped about the man who had repeatedly challenged him during the campaign. As for his party’s victory, Amarinder Singh graciously credited Sonia Gandhi, who did not campaign at all, and Rahul Gandhi, who reserved much of his energies for Uttar Pradesh.
Popular as “Captain” among his supporters, Mr Singh had declared that this is his last election.He said his first priority would be to fight drugs; Punjab’s drug problem was depicted in the acclaimed movie “Udta Punjab” recently.
“The people of Punjab have given us a big mandate. I have vowed to finish drugs within four weeks,” the Captain said.He was non-committal on having the flamboyant cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu as his deputy.”That will be decided by the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. All ministers will be decided by the party leadership,” he said.
As for his party’s victory, Amarinder Singh graciously credited Sonia Gandhi, who did not campaign at all, and Rahul Gandhi, who reserved much of his energies for Uttar Pradesh. Popular as “Captain” among his supporters, Mr Singh had declared that this is his last election. He said his first priority would be to fight drugs; Punjab’s drug problem was depicted in the acclaimed movie “Udta Punjab” recently.
The Captain has not shared the warmest of ties with Mr Sidhu, who joined the Congress in January amid speculation that he was angling for the Chief Minister’s post.Mr Singh contested two seats. He has won his traditional stronghold of Patiala, but in Lambi, where he challenged Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, he is trailing.

Celebrations that began early outside Arvind Kejriwal’s home in Delhi this morning dimmed considerably and faded out when the results started coming in. AAP’s Somnath Bharti said Punjab, along with Goa – where the party was doing equally badly – would be a “great learning experience” on what went wrong.

“We are new to politics, we don’t understand numbers very much. We believe in hard work, hard work for people, hard work in the assembly. I still believe the trends will reverse by 10:30 am,” said Mr Bharti, a former Delhi Minister.
The Congress campaign was led by Captain Amarinder Singh, who turns 75 today. He is trailing in Lambi, where he has challenged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, but winning in Patiala, the other seat he is contesting from.
“The people of Punjab have given us a big mandate. I have vowed to finish drugs within four weeks,” the Captain said. He was non-committal on having the flamboyant cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu as his deputy. “That will be decided by the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. All ministers will be decided by the party leadership,” he said.
The Captain has not shared the warmest of ties with Mr Sidhu, who joined the Congress in January amid speculation that he was angling for the Chief Minister’s post. Mr Singh contested two seats. He has won his traditional stronghold of Patiala, but in Lambi, where he challenged Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, he is trailing.

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