CHANDIGARH: For the first time in many years, veteran Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal will not be the leader of opposition in the State Assembly after the party had a humiliating defeat in the polls. The ruling party could bag only 15 seats out of the total 117 Assembly seats.
The Akali Dal leader will not don the role of leader of the Opposition (LOP) as the new LOP in the Assembly will be elected from among the 22 MLAs of the AAP-Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) combine. It will be for the first time since 1997 that Badal will not be the leader of opposition in the Punjab Assembly.
The race of leader of opposition in AAP is between senior advocate HS Pholka who won from Dakha, senior journalist Kanwar Sndhu who won from Kharar--both first time MLAs and Sukhpal Singh Khaira from Bolath--a second time MLA. Kahira had contested previously in 2007 on a Congress ticket.
The ruling SAD-BJP alliance had ten of its cabinet ministers losing in the elections. Akali Dal had food minister and CM’s son-in-law Adaish Partap Singh Kairon, Tota Singh, Gulzar Singh Ranike, Surjit Singh Rakhra, Sikandar Singh Maluka, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema and Sohan Singh Thandal lose from their respective constituencies. While from its junior alliance partner BJP, local bodies minister Anil Joshi (Amritsar-North) and health minister Surjit Kumar Jyani (Fazilka). While two other ministers Madan Mohan Mittal and Chunni Lal Bhagat were not given tickets this time by the saffron party.
The BJP legislators who won are Arun Narang from Abohar, Dinesh Singh Babbu from Sujanpur and Som Parkash from Phagwara.
Previously in one its worse performances—the 1972 elections, the Shiromani Akali Dal bagged 24 seats. The BJP, meanwhile, had contested in 23 seats in 2002 but bagged only three.