Chandigarh: Weeks ahead of the Punjab polls, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) made a stellar debut in Chandigarh MC election on Monday, by capturing 14 seats out of 35 municipal seats and pushing the BJP to second place at 12 seats. After the sliding victory, Mr Kejriwal said the polls result signals change in Punjab, which is ready to under go votes early next year for a new government.
The Congress won eight seats and the Akali Dal stayed at its previous tally of one seat. Elections were held on Friday in Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab and Haryana.
“AAP’s victory in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation points at imminent change in Punjab. People have rejected corrupt politics and have chosen AAP…Punjab is ready for change,” tweeted Mr Kejriwal. The Delhi Chief Minister has been campaigning aggressively for the Punjab election.
“The Chandigarh election is a trailer, Punjab will be the full movie. The mood in Chandigarh is the mood in Punjab,” added AAP’s Raghav Chadha.
Performing poorly at the polls BJP’s mayor Ravi Kant Sharma and former mayor Davesh Moudgil were both defeated by AAP candidates. AAP’s election campaign committee head Chander Mukhi Sharma lost.
“Only final results will show which party’s vote base has shifted to AAP because BJP’s voters never shift their loyalty,” said Naresh Arora, BJP’s Chandigarh spokesperson.
Chandigarh had 26 seats in the previous civic election. This time, a few villages were shifted from the Gram Panchayat and brought under the urban civic body.
In the last polls, the BJP had bagged 20 seats (77 per cent of the seats) and its then ally Akali Dal had a single seat. The BJP-Akali Dal’s rival Congress had won four seats (15%). The BJP and the Akali Dal fell out earlier this year over the farmer protest.
Traditionally, the Chandigarh civic polls held every five years is a straight rivalry between the BJP and Congress but year AAP’s entry changed that equation. With the high stakes Punjab election approaching in just weeks, it became a four-way contest between AAP, BJP, Congress and the Akali Dal-BSP alliance.
On its debut, AAP has taken 40 per cent of the seats. The BJP’s share has dropped to 43 per cent. The Congress, however, has upped its share of seats to 23 per cent.