Except Punjab, BJP holds good in northern states

By Jaideep Sarin ,

Chandigarh: After being in the wilderness for years, the BJP has re-emerged in a big way by sweeping the northern states of Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party won all seven seats in Delhi, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) being runners-up on all seats and the Congress finishing a poor third.

The BJP won all five seats in Uttarakhand and all four in adjoining Himachal Pradesh.

In both hill states, the wives of incumbent chief ministers (Renuka Rawat in Uttarakhand and Pratibha Singh in Himachal Pradesh), lost on Congress ticket.

The BJP also bagged the lone seat in Chandigarh through actress Kirron Kher, who won by over 69,600 votes.

In Delhi, where BJP won all seven seats, BJP leader Harsh Vardhan, actor Manoj Tiwari and lawyer Meenakshi Lekhi were among the winners.

The margins of victory of BJP candidates were good – ranging from 1.06 lakh to over 2.68 lakh.

Even in Haryana, the BJP won seven of the eight Lok Sabha seats it contested. Four of its candidates won by comprehensive margins of 2.7 lakh votes and more. The highest margin was 4.66 lakh votes in Faridabad.

Out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana, BJP alliance partner Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) contested two seats (Hisar and Sirsa) and lost both.

The only exception, and even embarrassment, for the party was in Punjab where it, and its ally Shiromani Akali Dal, could win only six of the 13 seats.

The Akali Dal candidates’ winning margins ranged from over 19,000 to one lakh.

What was stunning for the BJP in Punjab was the big loss of senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley from Amritsar. Jaitley lost to former chief minister and Congress candidate Amarinder Singh by over one lakh votes.

The BJP, which ruins an alliance government with the Akali Dal in Punjab since 2007, managed to win the Gurdaspur (actor Vinod Khanna won by over 1.36 lakh votes) and Hoshiarpur (Vijay Sampla) seats.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which could not open its account anywhere else, bagged four Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. Margins of winning AAP candidates ranged from 20,000 to a comprehensive over 2.11 lakh.

The AAP march in Punjab affected the political fortunes of the Akali Dal and the BJP. While the Akali Dal got over 26 percent of vote share, the AAP was a close second at nearly 24 percent.

In Himachal, the BJP got all four seats.

Its candidate Ram Swaroop Sharma caused the biggest upset at Mandi, defeating Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh.

Other prominent BJP winners included veteran leader Shanta Kumar and youth BJP president Anurag Thakur.

While the Congress was decimated completely in Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal and Chandigarh, the party managed to win two seats in Punjab and one in Haryana.

Two seats in Haryana went to the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).