Chandigarh: Both the Congress’s biggest leaders in Punjab – Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and state unit boss Navjot Singh Sidhu – were trailing, as counting of votes entered the third hour on Thursday.
The ruling party was headed for a crushing defeat at the hands of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which appeared to be nearing a landslide victory.
Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was trailing in his constituency of Patiala Urban as votes were counted in the state today. Amarinder Singh floated his own party, the Punjab Lok Congress, after a bitter parting from the Congress after he was sacked as Chief Minister in September.
Counting of votes for 117 assembly seats in Punjab began on Thursday amid tight security arrangements.
Exit polls had predicted a big victory for Arvind Kejriwal’s party – which has established its presence in the state – pushing the Congress to the number 2 position in the 117-member assembly.
The Congress has been a divided house for more than a year in the run-up to the polls. Its internal rivalries, including the battle between former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and cricketer-turned politician Navjot Sidhu, had dominated headlines.
Mr Singh’s new party, the Punjab Lok Congress, has joined hands with the BJP. The Akali Dal, which split for its longtime partner BJP after the countrywide protests over the farm laws, form the other contender in the multi-cornered contest.
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