Punjab polls 2012: Badals make historic comeback; SAD smiles

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Punjab has proved again that old is gold in state politics when Parkash Singh Badal, the grand old man in the Punjab political scene stormed back to power. Powering ahead, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has bagged 51 seats and leading in 17 other constituencies in the 117-member Assembly.

In a historic first for the state, the SAD has fought the anti-incumbency factor and seem to be going for a repeat term holding the reins of power. Congress had projected Captain Amarinder Singh as its projected CM but had to face defeat in a last-minute clincher. With no confirmation on the CM choice for the SAD-BJP alliance, it most likely that the party will hand over the reigns to Jnior Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal. Sukhbir had stated that his father will be the party's CM candidate.

Among the prominent losers are Amarinder's son Raninder (Samana), SAD ministers Upinderjit Kaur and Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Tikshan Sud (BJP) and deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly Satpal Gosain (BJP). Other losers were Finance Minister Upinderjit Kaur (SAD) who lost from Sultanpur Lodhi by 4,298 votes to Congress' Navtej Singh.

If Badal senior gets elected as CM, it will be his fifth stint in the top job. He had earlier led Punjab for two five-year terms from 1997 and 2007. His other terms were in 1977-1980 and 1970-71. The SAD-BJP alliance managed to crush the incumbency factor and had to face many upheavals including corruption and nepotism charges.

The coming back of the Badals into power will see the father-son duo in the top ranks of the SAD. Considered a traditional party who sticks to conventional values, made their alliance with the BJP, a move considered by pundits to secure Sukhbir's footing in Punjab.
Sukhbir is armed with an MBA degreee from the US becoming the youngest Akail Dal leader taking over the post on Jan 2008.

There were family politics also at play in Punjab, when Senior Badal had to face his cousin's Mahesh Inder Singh of Congress and his younger brother Gurdas who were in the fray from the Lambi constituency. Punjab BJP President Ashwani Sharma won from Pathankot defeating his nearest Congress rival Raman Bhalla by a margin of 17,586 votes.

Following the win, Parkash Singh Badal has been quoted as saying, "One of the two reasons we won is that the BJP gave its full fledged support to us. And the other reason which worked for us is the work we have done for development in the state."

Manpreet Badal's Punjab People's Party-led Sanjha Morcha failed to make any impact in the polls as it was not in a winning position from any seat.

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