As counting for the Punjab Assembly elections remains underway, incumbent Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has lost both the seats he stood for.
In the Chamkaur Sahib seat, the Congress' CM candidate lost to the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) candidate Dr Charanjit Singh by nearly 8,000 votes. He has secured 62,306 votes according to the Election Commission, with 42.22 percent of the vote, as against his AAP rival's 70,248 votes.
Channi had contested from the Chamkaur Sahib constituency in the last elections as well. He was the only Congress candidate to fight from two seats this time.
Apart from Chamkaur Sahib, in the 2022 polls, Channi also contested from Bhadaur in Barnala district, where he was up against AAP's Labh Singh Ugoke and the Shiromani Akali Dal’s Satnam Singh Rahi.
His loss to Ugoke is by an even more significant margin, at over 37,000 votes. The AAP candidate secured 63,967 votes according to the EC, while Channi could only manage 26,409.
The Congress had snagged the Bhadaur seat only once in the last 50 years – in 2012. In 2017, the Congress stood third here, getting just 21 percent of the vote. The AAP got 45 percent. It is also one of the only 7 seats that AAP was leading in even in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, in which Congress otherwise did well in Punjab.
Channi's 2017 Election
The Congress had formed a majority in the 2017 assembly elections by winning by a large mandate of 77 seats in Punjab, with the AAP trailing far behind with 22 seats.
Charanjit Singh Channi, the incumbent chief minister and the party's CM candidate for the 2022 Punjab polls, had attained victory from the Chamkaur Sahib constituency in 2017 with 61,060 votes, nearly 13,000 more than his AAP contender, who is also named Charanjit Singh, at the time. The Congress leader had also won on this seat in 2012.
Channi had succeeded Captain Amarinder Singh as CM after the latter's resignation amid a feud with Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Channi was first elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 2007 and had served as a minister in the Captain Amarinder Singh government. He was also a Leader of Opposition in the state assembly from 2015 to 2016.
How Had Congress Fared in 2017 Elections?
A total of 59 seats is required to form majority in the 117 member strong Punjab state Assembly.
Power for the 117-seats strong Punjab Assembly had been contested by the Congress, AAP, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and the BJP in 2017. In the 2017 Assembly polls, the Congress had won a clear majority in the state Assembly by winning 77 seats.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had emerged as the second-largest party with 20 seats, followed by the SAD, which had managed victory in 15 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had secured only three seats.
For this year, the News24-Today's Chanakya exit polls had projected that the Congress would win 10±7 seats in Punjab. The India Today-India My Axis exit poll results had predicted that the party would win 19-31 seats.