In a further affirmation of its virtual stranglehold over the state’s electorate, the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD)-BJP combine made a clean sweep by securing all the 22 zila parishads.
And the alliance inflicted a crushing defeat on the main Opposition Congress, which had to contend with a mere 23 seats as against the SAD-BJP tally of 269.
The Congress performed slightly better in the block samiti polls held alongside as it won 442 out of the total 2732 seats, while the SAD-BJP combine emerged victorious in 2029.
Just as humiliating for the Congress-led joint Opposition, which also included the People’s Party of Punjab and the BSP, was the political reverse suffered by the newly-elected Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Partap Singh Bajwa.
Going by the past record here, it was the ruling party which always did well in the Zila-Block Samiti polls. However, the virtual decimation of the Congress and the scale of the SAD-BJP win left even the seasoned political commentators groping for answers. Interestingly, neither the CM nor Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal campaigned in the elections and they had left it to the SAD’s middle and lower-rung leaders to head the charge.
The outcome is also a personal set back to Bajwa as the Akalis have captured the Kahnuwan block samiti, which is his home turf since he has been contesting Assembly elections from Kahnuwan. It was actually the factionalism in its ranks that did the Congress in despite the well-oiled campaign run by the party.