New Delhi: Around 1.4 crore people in Punjab voted for their 117-member assembly today. Some 1,100 candidates had their fates sealed in the crucial election that saw a three-way contest between the ruling Akali Dal-BJP alliance, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, which debuted in the state polls this time. The 2017 Punjab elections saw several high-octane contests with incumbent Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal taking on his predecessor, Congress' Amarinder Singh, in the former's constituency of Lambi, and AAP lawmaker Bhagwant Mann challenging Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal for the latter's Jalalabad seat. Former BJP lawmaker Navjot Singh Sidhu also contested as a Congress candidate from Amritsar East. The Congress seeks to regain the state from the SAD-BJP alliance, which has ruled Punjab for nearly a decade, while the AAP - which won all of its four Lok Sabha seats in 2014 from the state - expects to make a smashing foray.
Join Dr Prannoy Roy, Dorab Sopariwala, Shekhar Gupta and Amitoj Singh as they identify and analyse the issues and mood of the voters from the Golden Temple in Punjab.
Prannoy Roy: A fascinating election to cover, one of the best I have ever done. Could this be the end of polling here too after Brexit, and US?
Prannoy Roy: So we went on a trip across the state. Now we are in one the 'predictor constituencies' Bassi Pathana which seem to always pick the winner. So here is our forecast after speaking to hundreds of people. Our first forecast said Congress had best chance now we say AAP has 55-60% chance of winning. Our first estimates were based on studying opinion polls but now we have gone around the state and spoken to more people and based on these inputs this is what we conclude.
Prannoy Roy: Where is the AAP is going to get its vote from? AAP takes a lot of the Akali foundation away. AAP is weaker in Hindu areas, strong in Sikh areas. It did very well in East Malwa region. Here's how the political parties map looks like.
Shekhar Gupta: This is a very impatient electorate. Another reason for Akali's collapse is that over the past 10 years it has transformed from a democratic party to a dynastic party. The incidents of desecration and the fact that the guilty weren't caught angered the public.
Dorab Sopariwala: For the first time, I saw signs of despair in Punjab. Many people are voting for AAP are saying, "What do we have to lose?"
Prannoy Roy: Another important factor in Punjab is the Dalit vote because they form a large part of the population.
Prannoy Roy: That's why there are 54 swing seats - very few seats are safe.
Shekhar Gupta: There is a resentment about one family's rule in Punjab.
Shekhar Gupta: AAP has gone beyond the identity. People don't care who is the party chief or who will be the chief minister they are voting for issues.
Prannoy Roy: When I asked Arvind Kejriwal, how many seats will you win, he said more than 100 seats.
Shekhar Gupta: AAP seems to have co-opted patriotism. They don't have their own iconography so they have invoked people like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru.
Prannoy Roy: So how does age divide, and the urban-rural divide affect the vote?