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In 5 out of 6 LS polls, Pb went against state govt

As the proverbial knives are out within the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab to “fix” the blame for the party's defeat in the 2024 General Elections, there is nothing new in the ruling party faring so badly in the General Elections.

News Arena Network - Chandigarh - UPDATED: June 6, 2024, 05:13 AM - 6 mins read

Voters line up at a polling booth in Punjab.

In 5 out of 6 LS polls, Pb went against state govt

Voters line up at a polling booth in Punjab.


In the assembly polls,  the state mostly votes against the national trend. 

 

As the proverbial knives are out within the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab to “fix” the blame for the party's defeat in the 2024 General Elections, there is nothing new in the ruling party faring so badly in the General Elections.

 

Another pattern is that Punjab has mostly gone against the national trend and voted against the party/alliance, which formed the government at the centre.

It happened in all the six General Elections since 1999, except for in 2009. 

 

In 2009, the state elected eight Congress MPs, going along the national trend when Dr Manmohan Singh got re-elected as the Prime Minister for the second term. This exception was probably only because of Dr Singh.

 

2024 was the sixth General Election held in the country since 1999. Of these, in five General Elections, Punjabi voters have given thumbs down to the state ruling party/alliance.

 

There is a reason for this. In Punjab, since 1999, the General Elections fall almost at the time when half of the tenure of the ruling party/alliance is over. It is sort of a “midterm” election in the state. 

 

Though Punjab is not the only state where General Elections are held at around the “midterm” of the state government, as in Uttar Pradesh also these comes around the same time.

 

Given the rebellious nature of the Punjabi mindset, it gets disillusioned too soon and too fast as compared to the rest of the country. 

 

That probably explains why the AAP, which scored a resounding victory in the 2022 assembly elections, winning 92 of the 117 assembly segments, fared so badly about two and a half years later in the current General Elections.

 

According to the available data from the Election Commission of India, while the AAP won three of the 13 parliamentary constituencies, it only led from 32 assembly segments, a loss of two-thirds of assembly segments. Its vote share decreased from 42 per cent to 26 per cent, a massive drop of 16 per cent. 

 

Although the AAP in-charge for Punjab Sandeep Pathak compares these figures with 2019 when it had got only 7 per cent and tries to seek consolation in this comparison, the fact is that the party got badly drubbed this time in Punjab. 

 

16 per cent loss in vote share is massive.

 

But, as mentioned already, the AAP is not the first ruling party/alliance in Punjab, that has fared so badly, both the Akali-BJP when they ruled Punjab together in alliance as well as the Congress have fared equally badly in the General Elections, while being in power in the state.

 

During the October 1999 General Elections, it was the Akali-BJP alliance in power in Punjab. 

The alliance government had been formed in March 1997, two and a half years before the General Elections. 

 

The ruling alliance won just three seats, two by the Akalis and one by the BJP, while the opposition parties won ten constituencies. Of these the Congress won 8, the CPI, which was in alliance with the Congress won one and one seat was bagged by Simranjit Singh Mann of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar. 

 

It was interesting as at the centre, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) under Atal Bihari Vajpayee swept to power, while Punjab went against the national trend, only because people had started feeling disillusioned with the provincial government.

 

During the 2004 General Elections, it was the Congress government in Punjab formed in 2002. While the opposition Akali-BJP won eleven of the thirteen constituencies, the ruling Congress could win only two. And again, it was the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that came to power at the centre.

 

The same pattern repeated in the 2009 General Elections in Punjab. While it was the Akali-BJP alliance government in the state formed in 2007, it was the Congress, which won eight of the thirteen seats, while the ruling alliance could win just five.

 

In 2014, it was again the Akali-BJP alliance in power in Punjab. Although this time the ruling alliance won only one seat less than the opposition, the fact is that it lost seven and won only six. 

 

While SAD won four seats, the BJP won two and the AAP, which had just been formed a year ago, won four seats. And there was a sweeping pro-Modi and pro-BJP wave across the country.

 

The 2019 General Elections were the only exception since 1999, when the ruling party won more seats than the opposition. 

 

In those elections, Congress, which was in power, won eight of the thirteen seats, while the Akalis and the BJP won two each and the AAP clinched only one seat of Sangrur from where Bhagwant Mann, the current Chief Minister got re-elected.

 

The 2024 General Elections also followed the dominant pattern of voters going against the ruling party in the state. 

 

The AAP was expecting to perform better as it thought the 300 units of free power may help it to reap handsome dividends. That in fact has paid to some extent for the party, otherwise retaining 26 per cent vote share would not have been possible. 

 

The Congress also got the same vote share of 26.30 per cent as AAP, which got 26.02 per cent, while the BJP and the Akalis got 18.5 and 13.4 vote share respectively. 

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