The Lok Sabha seat of Chandigarh promised an exciting contest, but that it would turn out to be so exciting was hardly anybody’s guess. P.K. Bansal, the sitting MP who prided himself on having this seat as his stronghold, was humbled as the public chose the BJP candidate Kirron Kher this time. The result merits attention: Kher beat not only Bansal but also Gul Panag, the AAP candidate who many believed would sweep the election on her mass appeal.
The numbers are worth looking at: Kirron Kher 1,91,362 votes, P.K. Bansal 1,21,720 votes, and Gul Panag 1,08,679 votes. For a Lok Sabha seat, that too as populous as Chandigarh, the contest was quite close.
How can we account for this “upset”?
Here’s what I think:
Congress: The Congress party had the first claim on the seat of Chandigarh, without a doubt. All things being equal, it should have been a cakewalk for Bansal. But all things are not equal this time, and certainly not with the Congress. The Railgate scandal has been another major embarrassment, which Bansal admitted has cost him this election.
AAP: The VIP candidate Gul Panag of the common man’s party was carrying high hopes. The party thought her star persona andcharm would win over people and give them confidence that change was knocking. Unfortunately, Panag’s efforts have been undermined by none other than the party itself. The way Kejriwal conducted himself during the 49 days of leading Delhi has put off the common man for good. Moreover, it’s likely that people see Panag more as a glamorous actress than someone who has the nerves of steel to succeed in politics.
BJP: Finally, one must admit that Kirron Kher wasn’t much of a match. However, she was helped by an anti-Congress and anti-AAP sentiment, and greatly benefited by the Modi wave that gripped the nation. Make hay while the sun shines, as they say!
For Kirron Kher, of course, this is the stuff of dreams. Well done!
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