Chandigarh, Dec 24: The year saw the return of the grand old man of Punjab politics to the helm of affairs to begin his fourth and perhaps last term as Chief Minister with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and BJP assuming power in the border state.
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was back in the Punjab Civil Secretariat after a gap of five years, after his party in alliance with the BJP won 68 of the 117 seats in the February Assembly polls. The results were a surprise as far as the BJP was concerned, with the party winning 19 of the 23 seats it contested in the urban areas, the traditional bastion of the Congress.
The BJP staked its claim to the Deputy Chief Minister's post on account of its good showing in the Assembly polls. However, the year passed by with Mr Badal yet to oblige them. The year also saw the SAD-BJP capture the Patiala, Amritsar and Jalandhar Municipal Corporations.
No sooner had Mr Badal taken oath as Chief Minister in the first week of March than his predecessor Capt Amarinder Singh, after taking oath as a member of the 13th Vidhan Sabha left for the United Kingdom (UK). The Congress under Capt Singh, despite making inroads into the SAD strongholds in the Malwa belt, failed to enter double figures in the Majha and Doaba belts and secured 44 seats.
The departure of Capt Amarinder Singh and that of his media advisor, B I S Chahal had been predicted by political pundits even before the results were out as the two feared that they would be the first targets of the new SAD-BJP government. The fears proved true as the new government slapped a corruption case against Capt Singh, his son Raninder Singh, a former minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and others in the multi-crore Ludhiana City Centre scam which was investigated by the Vigilance Bureau.