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Punjab Election 2017 Exit Poll Results LIVE: Close contest between Congress and AAP predicted

Around 78.6 percent of the 1.98 crore electors on 4 February had exercised their franchise in the election to the 117 Assembly seats of Punjab.

FP Politics March 09, 2017 18:31:50 IST
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Punjab Election 2017 Exit Poll Results LIVE: Close contest between Congress and AAP predicted

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Mar 09, 2017 - 19:30 (IST)

Look who's talking about Punjab polls

Mar 09, 2017 - 19:22 (IST)

Decimation of the Badals was expected

The decimation of the Badals and with them, of the BJP, as collateral damage is almost on expected lines.

The mood within Punjab was of complete revulsion for the Badal brand of dole, dera and dynasty politics. Everywhere in Punjab, people were voting with just one intention--to boot the SAD-BJP alliance out.

That mood is reflected in the exit poll results that suggest the Badals are being wiped out and their tally may not enter double figures. If that happens and one of the two rival parties — the AAP and the Congress — gets a clear majority, the Badals would become politically insignificant in their bastion.

Their only chance of remaining relevant lies in a hung assembly. In case of a  fractured verdict, the SAD-BJP numbers could become crucial for formation of the next government.

Mar 09, 2017 - 19:15 (IST)

If AAP loses, it will be because of infighting

If the AAP loses Punjab, it will have only itself to blame. The stage was set for a major AAP victory in Punjab just a year ago. But, the AAP leaders fought within themselves and allowed the Congress to get back into reckoning.

A year before elections, when the AAP held its rally at the Maghi Mela, its tent had the biggest crowd, beating the other two rivals by a huge margin. In Punjab, Maghi melas are considered the next big thing to pre-poll surveys, the crowds that gather there are considered reliable indicators of the political mood. A year ago, convinced by the crowd, analysts thought the BJP had it made.

But the AAP went through a major implosion in the first half of 2016, leading to the expulsion of its state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur. Later, the AAP had a fall-out with Navjot Singh Sidhu. whose inclusion would have given it momentum and an acceptable Sikh face.

Mar 09, 2017 - 18:49 (IST)

'Only consensus is on Akalis/BJP in single digits'

Mar 09, 2017 - 18:48 (IST)

People just love predicting poll results...

Mar 09, 2017 - 18:43 (IST)

If Congress wins, credit should go to Amarinder Singh

If Congress wins Punjab, it would primarily be the result of local heavyweight Captain Amarinder Singh's popularity. A year before the campaign in Punjab began, pre-poll surveys were predicting a landslide for the AAP and a bleak future for the Congress.

But, things began to change after the Congress leadership decided to sideline its existing leadership and give a free hand to Captain. This coincided with the infighting between the local AAP leadership, leading to a shift in the momentum.

The Congress benefitted also from Navjot Singh Sidhu's decision to join the party just ahead of elections. Sidhu's popularity in his backyard Amritsar may have helped the Congress notch up a few more seats in a keenly-contested election.

All said, the result in Punjab, if it favours the Congress, would be an indication of the personal popularity of the Captain-Singh combine instead of reflection of the party's Central leadership.

Mar 09, 2017 - 18:39 (IST)

Meanwhile, follow LIVE updates on Manipur Election 2017 exit poll predictions here.

Mar 09, 2017 - 18:35 (IST)

AAP to get 36.7 percent votes in Punjab: CVoter

Mar 09, 2017 - 18:29 (IST)

The poll of polls for Punjab

Mar 09, 2017 - 18:28 (IST)

Tough fight between Congress and AAP: MRC exit poll

The two-month long Assembly elections in five states, marked by frequent name-calling, ended on Wednesday, with all eyes on the 11 March results that will be seen not only as a virtual referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity after demonetisation but also Aam Aadmi Party's relevance in two states.

In Punjab, 77.4 percent polling was witnessed on 4 February. The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance is battling anti-incumbency while Amarinder Singh is leading the Congress bid to return to power after ten years in the 117-member state Assembly. AAP has made its maiden foray in the assembly elections, seeking to play a killjoy for the two major contenders for power.

There were a total of 1,145 candidates in the fray, with all the top-three contenders Congress, SAD-BJP alliance as well as AAP fielding 117 candidates. Also in the fray in Punjab are Communisty Party of India — Marxist (CPM), Communist Party of India — Marxist Liberation (CPI-ML), Aapna Punjab Party (APP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Punjab Front, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Punjab United (PU), Akali Dal (AD), Apna Punjab (AP), Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Party (JJJKP), Swabhiman Party (SP) and Janta Dal United (JDU).

Punjab Election 2017 Exit Poll Results LIVE Close contest between Congress and AAP predicted

Representational image. PTI

According to Firstpost's Sandipan Sharma, the Punjab election is all about "voting out the SAD-BJP government. Every voter is reacting to just three issues — drugs, doles and dhakka (hegemony and injustice of Badals and their cronies) politics. Voters want change and the exit of Badals".

The menace of drugs in Punjab is arguably the most important issue in the state which is unique to Punjab. An Aiims study had concluded that there were 837 opioid-dependents per 100,000 people in Punjab, or 0.84 percent of the state’s 28 million population. This alone is more than three times as much as the corresponding all-India figure for all types of drug dependents, based on a Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment estimate of three million drug dependents nationwide, which is 250 per 100,000, or 0.25 percent of the Indian population.

This fact alone shows the extent of the drug abuse problem in Punjab, and the extent to which Sukhbir Singh Badal had distorted the facts. Just the number of opioid-dependents in Punjab was estimated to be over three times the number for all types of drugs in the country.

There were a lot of political twists and turns right before the Punjab polls too. For example, there was a lot of outrage over Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's remark asking people to vote as if they were voting for Kejriwal. Sisodia's remarks created a political storm as politicians from other parties tried convincing people that this actually meant that Kejriwal was going to be the chief ministerial candidate of AAP for Punjab and that Kejriwal was going to relinquish his role as Delhi chief minister.

One of the most shocking statements came from Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had left the BJP for the Congress a few months back. During a Congress press conference, the flamboyant Sidhu began the presser by claiming, "I'm a born Congressman. My identity, from birth, is that of a Congressman. I owe my existence to Congress."

And of course, who can forget the moment when Amarinder Singh announced that Congress would launch a department called 'Guardians of Governance' if it came to power in the state?

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