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SAD-BJP combine trounces Congress in Punjab

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 13, 2004 21:49 IST
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Capitalizing on factionalism in the ruling Congress and the anti-incumbency factor, the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine made a virtual sweep of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab in a complete reversal of the outcome of the 1999 polls.

While SAD candidates won eight seats, its ally BJP on all the three Lok Sabha seats it contested.

The SAD, led by former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, wrested six seats - four from Congress and one each from the SAD (Mann) and CPI – while retaining Tarn Taran and Ferozepur.

The seats wrested by SAD are Bathinda (Reserved), Phillaur (Reserved), Ropar (Reserved), Ludhiana, Faridkot and Sangrur.

SAD's Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, wife of a sitting Punjab and Haryana high court judge, defeated Khushal Chaman Bhaura, widow of late CPI MP Bhan Singh Bhaura, to wrest the Bathinda seat from the CPI.

The SAD wrested Sangrur seat from SAD (Mann) chief Simranjit Singh Mann. Union minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa defeated Arvind Khanna of the Congress in Sangrur seat while Mann finished third.

In Faridkot, considered to be an Akali citadel, Badal's son Sukhbir Singh Badal drubbed former chief minister H S Brar's daughter-in-law Karan Brar by over 100,000 votes. This seat was held by Jagmeet Singh Brar of the Congress.

The shifting of Jagmeet Singh Brar (Congress) to the neighbouring constituency of Ferozepur failed to pay dividends as he lost to the SAD's Zora Singh Mann who managed to retain the seat for the third consecutive term.

The SAD wrested Phillaur (R) seat from Santosh Choudhary of the Congress and Ropar (R) seat from Shamsher Singh Dullo also of the Congress. Former state assembly speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal won the Phillaur (R) seat while Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Libra won Ropar (R).

The BJP, an ally of the SAD, scored comprehensive wins on all the three seats - Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Hoshiarpur - it contested. During the 1999 elections, it could win only Gurdaspur of the three it contested.

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