SAD, Congress register win in Punjab bypolls
Chandigarh: Ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress won one seat each in the bypolls to Patiala (urban) and Talwandi Sabo Assembly seats on Monday but the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) finished a poor third.
It was a gain for ruling SAD which fought a strong anti-incumbency factor to wrest control over Talwandi Sabo seat from the Congress.
Both Patiala (urban) and Talwandi Sabo seats were with the Congress before they fell vacant.
Patiala seat fell vacant after sitting Congress MLA and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh got elected to Lok Sabha from Amritsar, whereas Talwandi Sabo Assembly seat faced bypoll as sitting Congress MLA Jeet Mohinder Sidhu deserted the party to join the ruling SAD.
Talwandi Sabo Assembly under Bathinda district was retained by SAD`s Harsimrat Kaur Badal, wife of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in the recently held Lok Sabha polls. After the election, Harsimrat was given a ministerial berth in the Narendra Modi cabinet.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir had campaigned vigorously in Talwandi Sabo leaving no stone unturned to ensure the victory of party candidate and "turncoat" Sidhu.
Patiala`s royal family maintained its stronghold on Patiala seat, considered to be the strong bastion of the family.
After retaining Patiala seat, Amarinder Singh had emerged as a strong leader of the party in Punjab. He had limited his campaigning for his wife in the run up to the bypolls to Patiala seat.
Preneet, a three time MP was defeated by AAP`s Dharamvira Gandhi in the Lok Sabha polls.
While Amarinder preferred to campaign for his wife, his bete noire and Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa confined his campaigning to Talwandi Sabo.
AAP which sprung a surprise in the recently held Lok Sabha polls by winning four out of total 13 seats in Punjab, performed badly in the bypolls as its candidates finished third.
Preneet, wife of former chief minister Amarinder Singh, won over her nearest SAD rival by a margin of over 23,282 votes, an election office spokesman said.