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SAD manages just two in Punjab, salvages some pride

By Anuj Cariappa
|

Chandigarh, May 24: The opposition SAD, which was looking to resurrect itself in Punjab following the backlash over the desecration of religious texts, could only bag two of the 10 Lok Sabha seats it contested.

As part of its seat-sharing agreement with the BJP, the Shiromani Akali Dal fielded candidates on 10 seats in the state, leaving three for its ally.

SAD manages just two in Punjab, salvages some pride

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal were the only party candidates who won.

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Sukhbir Singh Badal won from Ferozepur and his wife, a two-time MP from Bathinda, retained her seat. Both the constituencies are considered SAD strongholds.

"I want to thank... the people of Punjab," Sukhbir told reporters.

The SAD president said with his party winning two seats, the Congress's "Mission 13" has completely failed.

He said it showed that "those who used to make statements against the Badal family were actually spreading false propaganda".

Sukhbir defeated SAD rebel and Congress candidate Sher Singh Ghubaya with a handsome margin of over 1.98 lakh votes, according to the Election Commission.

Ghubaya, a Rai Sikh, was banking on support from his community. However, Sukhbir managed to divide his rival's vote bank and prevented him from scoring a "hat-trick".

Sukhbir led from the front at a time when his party was facing criticism from political opponents over desecration of religious scriptures. His party had been under fire over the 2015 sacrilege and police firing incidents in which two persons were killed.

The former deputy chief minister of Punjab, who is the Jalalabad MLA, took the plunge in the Lok Sabha polls after a gap of 15 years to revive his party's fortunes.

The SAD, which dominated state politics for decades, was relegated to the third spot in the 2017 assembly polls as it won only 15 of the 117 seats.

In Bathinda, it was a high-stakes battle for the SAD, with Harsimrat seeking re-election for the third time.

As part of his campaign, Warring attacked Harsimrat over the lack of development and desecration of religious scriptures. The SAD leader, on the other hand, relied on the Modi wave.

Harsimrat defeated Warring by a margin of 21,772 votes, the EC data showed.

She even bettered her victory margin this time as against 19,395 votes in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

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Five-time chief minister and Akali patriarch Parkash Singh Badal had also campaigned for his daughter-in-law.

Harsimrat also thanked the voters for her victory.

However, the SAD did not have any luck in the remaining eight constituencies despite the party fielding old warhorses like Jagir Kaur (Khadoor Sahib), Gulzar Singh Ranike (Faridkot), Charanjit Singh Atwal (Jalandhar), Prem Singh Chandumajra (Anandpur Sahib) and Parminder Singh Dhindsa (Sangrur) in some of them.

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