The Northern state of Punjab which sent 13 MPs to the Lok Sabha, has been quite a mystery in the political discourse. 2019 elections appear to be a mid-term test for its Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh under whom Congress party stormed to power with a two-thirds majority in the 2017 assembly polls after ten years. It is the leadership of Captain that has helped Congress maintain its stronghold in the state where BJP could not garner popular support.
While BJP and its ally Shiromani Akali Dal won 4 seats in the state, Congress bagged 8 seats and AAP won 1 seat.
With the debut of Bollywood actor-turned-politician Sunny Deol into the electoral contest from Gurdaspur on the BJP ticket, Punjab witnessed fierce poll campaigning from other prominent faces in fray such as SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Puri. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Uttar Pradesh Congress General Secretary and CM Captain Amarinder Singh also carried out an array of roadshows in the state in order to retain their hold in this election. Even as AAP tried to forge an alliance with Congress in Punjab also, it failed to garner the support from the Grand Old Party in its attempt to cut BJP’s vote share. AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal also addressed multiple rallies in the state during his election campaign.
One of the most significant controversies that hit the Election was over the “Hua To Hua” remark of Indian Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda over the 1984 anti-Sikh genocide which witnessed massive backlash against the Party from the BJP and its Punjab allies.
Punjab, being a Sikh majority state, has been ruled by a handful of families - Badals, Kairons, Majithia's, Brars and the Patiala royal family and could not be impressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political appeal. Significantly, PM Modi’s national security poll pitch could not weave the magic with the voters of Punjab, with only a 2.1 percent voters concurring that national security was the most important issue in this elections, as per the survey conducted by CVoter on May 3.
With over 2.07 crore voters eligible to exercise their franchise, the 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab are- Anandpur Sahib, Firozpur, Khadoor Sahib, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Gurdaspur, Bathinda, Sangrur, Patiala, Jalandhar and Faridkot. All the seats went to polls in the final phase of the polls on May 19.
In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while Modi wave won the majority in the Hindi-heartland and Southern states, Punjab turnout to be the only state where BJP’s vote share fell in the polls. The BJP’s vote share fell from 10.1 percent in 2009 to 8.7 percent in 2014. Subsequently, fall in BJP’s vote-share continued in the 2017 Assembly elections where it secured only 5.4 percent votes, its lowest in over 25 years. 2014 Lok Sabha polls saw the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) (a BJP-led NDA ally) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) winning four seats each, while the Congress securing three seats and leaving only two seats for the BJP. In a major jolt to the party, its senior leader Arun Jaitley lost to Congress’s Captain Amarinder Singh in Amritsar, the seat which Navjot Singh Sidhu had won in 2009.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Congress had picked up eight seats while SAD had taken four with BJP following on with one seat.
Republic Double Exit polls predicted clear win for the Congress party by winning the majority, leaving 2-4 seats for the NDA and wiping out AAP from the state of Punjab