New Delhi: Captain Amarinder Singh could not have hoped for a better 75th birthday. His party, the Congress, is making a comeback in Punjab after 10 years and he is expected to return as Chief Minister.
- Congress set to make a comeback in Punjab after 10 years
- Amarinder Singh winning in stronghold Patiala, trailing in Lambi
- He had announced that if he lost, it would be his last election
The Congress is set to win a huge majority in Punjab. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of Arvind Kejriwal, which had been tipped by many as the winner, is a poor second and the ruling Akali-BJP is last.
"Arvind Kejriwal is a summer storm, he came and he's gone," Amarinder Singh quipped about the man who had repeatedly challenged him during the campaign.
As for his party's victory, Amarinder Singh graciously credited Sonia Gandhi, who did not campaign at all, and Rahul Gandhi, who reserved much of his energies for Uttar Pradesh.
Popular as "Captain" among his supporters, Mr Singh had declared that this is his last election.
He said his first priority would be to fight drugs; Punjab's drug problem was depicted in the acclaimed movie "Udta Punjab" recently.
"The people of Punjab have given us a big mandate. I have vowed to finish drugs within four weeks," the Captain said.
He was non-committal on having the flamboyant cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu as his deputy.
"That will be decided by the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. All ministers will be decided by the party leadership," he said.
The Captain has not shared the warmest of ties with Mr Sidhu, who joined the Congress in January amid speculation that he was angling for the Chief Minister's post.
Mr Singh contested two seats. He has won his traditional stronghold of Patiala, but in Lambi, where he challenged Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, he is trailing.