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Posted at: May 24, 2019, 7:01 AM; last updated: May 24, 2019, 7:01 AM (IST)

Harsimrat Badal scrapes through

Cong’s Warring did well in rural areas, SAD in urban pockets
Harsimrat Badal scrapes through
Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal greets her supporters in Bathinda on Thursday. PTI

Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service
Bathinda, May 23

Union minister and two-time MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal today managed to defeat Congress candidate Amrinder Singh Raja Warring by a thin margin of 21,772 votes in a closely contested battle. 

Harsimrat bagged 4,92,824 votes, while Warring polled 4,71,052. The Congress performed well in rural constituencies and the SAD received backing in urban areas, apparently due to the Modi factor among Hindu voters. 

Of the nine Assembly segments, the SAD scored lead in five. Harsimrat sprang a surprise by scoring a lead of 3,743 votes in Bathinda (Urban), the constituency of Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, despite the fact that she trailed by 30,000 votes from the segment in 2014 and 15,000 votes in 2009. The other urban segment of Mansa also jolted the Congress where its 2014 lead of 24,000 came down to mere 2,926. Harsimrat’s lead from Lambi, the pocket borough of the Badal clan, was reduced to less than half, from 34,000 in 2014 to 16,125 now.

Warring obtained the maximum lead of 5,961 from Talwandi Sabo. He also led by 5,653 votes in Maur, 3,158 Sardulgarh and 2,926 Mansa. On the contrary, Harsimrat scored a lead of 16,125 from Lambi, 8,524 Budhlada and 8,132 Bhucho Mandi. She also led from Bathinda (Rural) by 2,586 votes. 

The outcome comes as a setback for Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, who had taken moral responsibility for Warring’s victory. The SAD succeeded in turning the tables on him by scoring a lead from Bathinda (Urban), which had given Manpreet a lead of 30,000 votes in 2014. This despite the fact that Manpreet had campaigned hard in the city for over three weeks, while the SAD had focused more on rural areas. Apart from Manpreet, Local Bodies Minister Navjot Sidhu too may also have to bear the brunt of Bathinda verdict for mounting an attack on Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh instead of targeting the Badals on the last day of campaign. 

AAP improved its performance with its candidate Baljinder Kaur polling 1.34 lakh votes as against around 88,000 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Though Baljinder Kaur is AAP MLA from Talwandi Sabo, she remained at the third spot in her own Assembly segment. Punjab Ekta Party chief finished fourth with 38,199 votes. The mandate also reflected people’s disillusionment with political parties as 13,323 voters opted for NOTA. 

Closely contested battle

  • Akalis get a lead of 3,743 votes in Bathinda (Urban), the constituency of Finance Minister Manpreet Badal. 
  • Significantly, Harsimrat had trailed by 30,000 votes from this segment in 2014 and 15,000 votes in 2009. 
  • Harsimrat defeated Congress candidate Amrinder Singh Raja Warring by a thin margin of 21,772 votes in a closely contested battle. 
  • Warring obtained the maximum lead of 5,961 from Talwandi Sabo. He also led by 5,653 votes in Maur, 3,158 Sardulgarh and 2,926 Mansa. 

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