Punjab: Assembly elections

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The run up to the elections

Punjab assembly polls: The complete fact sheet, Feb 4, 2017: The Times of India


Polling for 117 Punjab assembly seats that will decide the fate of 1,145 candidates began today. Punjab is witnessing a three-cornered contest between ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-

BJP alliance, opposition Congress and new entrant Aam Aadmi Party. Here's a full factual breakdown of the Assembly election in the state.

1. Assembly seats There are a total of 117 Assembly seats up for grabs. Of this, 83 seats are open to general candidates, while 34 are reserved for Scheduled Castes.

2. Electorate The state has 1.9 crore registered eligible voters, of which 1.05 crore are men and 94 lakh are women. The 2012 assembly polls witnessed a 78 per cent voter turnout.

3. Candidates There are 1,145 candidates contesting the elections this year. However, there are only 81 female candidates, just 7 per cent of the total. There is one candidate from the third gender.

4. The Contest

Party wise, the Congress has fielded the highest number of candidates. Congress: 116 Aam Aadmi Party: 112 SAD: 94 BJP: 23 BSP: 110

5. Big Fights


SAD boss and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal faces former Congress CM and Patiala royal Capt Amarinder Singh and AAP's Jarnail Singh in his pocket borough. One of the tallest leaders of the Sikhs, the senior Badal is fighting to retain his hold on the community as well. "Capt" is no stranger to big ticket battles and had defeated the BJP's Arun Jaitley from Amritsar in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He is also contesting from his Patiala home turf.


Deputy CM, Sukhbir Badal is also the party president. If SAD returns, Badal junior can take the credit. He faces some tough contenders in the fight — AAP's Bhagwant Mann and Congress's Ravneet Singh Bittu (grandson of slain Chief minister Beant Singh).

6. Hot Seats

Amritsar east

Navjot Singh Sidhu assertively sought to play a bigger role in state politics and quit the BJP to join the Congress ahead of the polls, saying he was a "born Congressman". His wife was BJP's sitting MLA on this seat before both joined the Congress. Sidhu was the party's main crowdpuller in Majha.


Bikram Singh Majithia runs SAD alongside brother-in-law Sukhbir Badal. The powerful but controversial figure has won from this seat in 2007 and 2012, notching the second highest margin of votes, almost 50,000 votes.

7. Make or Break While he's not in the fray himself, Arvind Kejriwal's AAP is fighting the 'outsider' label and troubles in the state unit. Nevertheless, his party won four of the 13 Lok Sabha seats here in 2014 and Punjab is a good bet for AAP to shed its tag of being a Delhi party.


Vibhor Mohan & Rohan Dua. AAP Pegged Back, Punjab Pours A Patiala, March 12, 2017: The Times of India  Party gains seats, but loses vote share

Congress registered a decisive win in Punjab in a three-cornered fight on Saturday. But even as it secured 77 seats, the party's vote share took a dip. Congress swept seats across regions: 39 of the total 69 in Malwa, 15 out of 23 in Doaba and 23 out of 25 in Majha.

“Congress did better than expected in Malwa, while it virtually swept the Dalit stronghold of Doaba and the border region of Majha.A reasonable performance by SAD-BJP in Malwa ensured that AAP did not sweep the region,“ said a Congress functionary .

This, despite speculation at one stage that AAP enjoyed more popularity in the Malwa region going by the crowds at public meetings of its star campaigner, Bhagwant Mann.

A strong state leadership under Captain Amarinder Singh, who managed to douse infighting among party leaders, and less interference of the high command, contrary to the practice in the past, also worked for Congress. The party pulled off a surprise even though it garnered just 38.4% of votes this time, which is almost 2% less than the 40.9% it got in 2012. Even its own leaders expected around 65 seats.

In the previous election, while the party had managed to win only 46 seats, its vote share had gone up from 40.11% in 2007. Despite registering an increase in vote share, Congress had failed to get a majority due to the damage caused by the People's Party of Punjab and the Bahujan Samaj Party in 2012.Ironically , though they spoilt Congress's fortunes, the two parties failed to win any seats themselves.

“The Congress campaign was meticulously planned around party president Captain Amarinder Singh and, in the last leg, the party tried hard to consolidate its presence in the Malwa region. Doaba and Majha were its strength from the start,“ said a party leader.

While Shiromani Akali Dal got 25.2% of votes, AAP managed to convince 23.8%of the electorate. Interestingly , Singh and party's star campaigner Navjot Singh Sidhu couldn't see eye to eye until the ex-cricketer joined Congress barely 15 days before the February 4 elections.On Saturday , the duo recorded two of the highest victory margins in the state.

While Singh's margin from Patiala Urban was 52,407 votes, Sidhu won Amritsar East seat by 42,809 votes. Though Sidhu was quick to scotch talks of being the deputy chief ministerial pick, his decision to hold a press conference before Singh's surprised everyone.

To his credit, Sidhu dedicated Congress' stellar tally to Singh and the Gandhi family and said that he might have joined the Congress team late, but he played like a T20 batsman. “I know how to play a T20 and a Test match,“ he said. “It is just the beginning. Congress will spread out from here.“ Sidhu held 36 rallies in seven days across the state during the last days of the campaign.

Asked if Sidhu would be the deputy chief minister, Amarinder said: “The Congress legislative party will meet on Sunday. All other decisions will be taken by Congress vicepresident Rahul Gandhi. We can only make recommendations.“

Congress gains seats, loses vote share

Punjab assembly elections, 2017, the important winners and losers; The Times of India, March 12, 2017
Punjab assembly elections, 2017, the important winners and losers; The Times of India, March 12, 2017

==The region-wise performance of the parties See graphic.

The region-wise performance of the parties in the Punjab in the assembly elections of 2012 and 2017; Vibhor Mohan & Rohan Dua. AAP Pegged Back, Punjab Pours A Patiala, March 12, 2017: The Times of India

Assembly election verdicts, 1967-2017

See graphic.

Punjab assembly election verdicts, 1967-2017; The Times of India, March 12, 2017
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