JALANDHAR, Punjab—The perception that Sikhs of Haryana will follow Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and go with its alliance partner Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), has been washed away. Out of the 23 seats dominated by Sikh voters, the SAD (B)-INLD alliance could win only seven seats as BJP triumphed in 15 of these constituencies.
The Parkash Badal-led Akali Dal had intensely focused on seats where the Sikh population is considerable and assumed that it could tilt the balance if they voted en bloc. However, while SAD won the Kalanwali seat, INLD could win only six of the remaining 22 Sikh-dominated assembly segments. The BJP won 15 seats while one went to Congress with Randeep Singh Surjewala getting re-elected from Kaithal.
Senior leaders of Akali Dal were campaigning in these constituencies. Five seats – Yamunanagar, Jagadhri, Naraingarh, Sadhaura and Mullana – were being supervised by Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia and all these went to the BJP. Akali Dal had campaigned at the micro-level also as teams of its leaders had approached individual Sikh households and tried to convince them that setting up of Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Managing Committee (HSGMC) by the Congress government in the state was a violation of the Akal Takht directive. The results, however, reflected that HSGMC was not the only issue for Sikh electorate of Haryana to vote for or against a party. The results indicate that Akali Dal’s Panthik card lost its sheen to ensure en masse voting by Sikhs.