Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance created history

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Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance created history Pics By NewsLineToday    Gallery Enlarge Image

By Manju Shukla
Date  7 March 2012
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance created history in the state's politics as it stunned the Congress Tuesday to retain power for a second consecutive term - the first such instance in the state in the last over four decades.
Beating the traditional anti-incumbency factor, the combine bagged a comfortable majority with 68 seats in the 117-member Punjab assembly as results were declared. It is for the first time in over four decades that a government has been able to come back to power for a consecutive term in Punjab.
Surprisingly, the combine managed to bag the same number of seats it had got in the 2007 assembly polls - 68.
The positives from the results were more for the Akali Dal as it increased its score from 49 seats in 2007 to 56 this time. However, alliance partner BJP's tally came down - from 19 seats to just 12 this time.

The Congress, which was very hopeful of coming back to power this time, was "surprised" by the results and ended with 46 seats. In 2007, the party had bagged 44 seats.

While the Akali Dal with 34.75 percent, and BJP with 7.13 percent, got 41.88 percent vote share, the Congress had 40.11 percent votes and 6.76 percent votes went to independents.
"I want to thank the people of Punjab for the faith reposed in us again. I don't have the words to express my gratitude to them. They have given us such a big victory," a visibly happy Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 84, told the media at his palatial residence in Badal village, 270 km from here.
With his son, Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal - who is also the deputy chief minister - by his side, Badal senior said: "There are two reasons for our victory. We went to the people with the agenda of peace and development in the state. I am happy that we have been able to live up to their expectations."
With victory in their bag, the question being asked now is which of the Badals - the father or the son - will be the next chief minister of Punjab.
"It is for the party leadership to decide on who will be the chief minister," Badal senior, clearly trying to evade the question, said.
Sukhbir, who is being credited by Akali Dal leaders for the party's remarkable victory, was more clear on the issue. He himself returned with the highest victory margin, 50,246, among all 117 winning candidates.
Badal junior, 49, said: "We will consult the party but Parkash Singh Badal will be the candidate (for being CM)."
Dropping hints about Sukhbir's elevation, the chief minister said: "It is the victory of the people of Punjab. But I must appreciate Sukhbir Badal as he worked very hard with the party organisation. He had a big role as party president. He played the role effectively. I am fully satisfied."
Sukhbir led the Akali Dal campaign from the front and was the most visible face of the party compared to his ageing father. During the campaign, Sukhbir had openly said that the Akalis would govern Punjab for 25 years.
Badal senior also announced that he and his entire family will pay obeisance at the holiest of Sikh shrines, Harmandar Sahib, (popularly called Golden Temple) in Amritsar Wednesday.
"We will work harder in the new government," Badal announced.
The Akali Dal and BJP are likely to hold a meeting here Thursday before the next government is sworn-in.
The Congress, which was very hopeful of returning to power this time, accepted defeat in the election.
"We accept our defeat. We will analyze where things went wrong. We could not win, we will do introspection for our defeat," Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh told the media at his residence in Chandigarh.
"I take full responsibility for the defeat. This result is very surprising," Amarinder Singh, a former chief minister, said.
"I wish the government well. I hope they will perform well for Punjab. It needs good governance," he added.
Congress dissidents, nearly two dozen of them, did affect the party’s official candidates on some seats.
Former finance minister and People's Party of Punjab (PPP) president Manpreet Badal lost from two seats, Maur and Gidderbaha, while his party failed to open its account. Manpreet remained inaccessible to the media till Tuesday evening. He issued a statement in the evening saying that the PPP may not have won but has made its presence felt.
The PPP got 5.71 percent of the 78.6 percent record votes polled from Punjab’s over 1.76 crore eligible electorate in the elections held Jan 30.
Manpreet's father, Gurdas Badal, who contested against his elder brother Parkash Singh Badal from the Lambi assembly seat, even lost his security deposit in the election

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