Chandigarh, March 11 (IANS): The Congress won its first two seats in Punjab on Saturday and led on 73 others, making a strong revival in the border State after being out of power for a decade. The AAP, set to be the main opposition, won one seat.
The Election Commission said Kanwar Pal Singh of the Congress defeated his BJP rival at Anandpur Sahib constituency.
Raj Kumar (Congress) worsted Akali Dal minister Sohan Singh Thandal at Chabbewal by over 29,000 votes. The third seat went to Sukhpal Singh Khaira of AAP, who defeated his Akali Dal rival by 8,200 votes.
The Congress surged towards a clear majority as its candidates led in 73 other seats in the 117-member assembly.
Proving wrong exit polls which projected a close outcome, the Congress remained way ahead of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine and the new entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) right from the time vote count began.
Contrary to surveys that the Akali Dal and the BJP would be routed, the alliance, which ruled Punjab for 10 years, led in 17 seats.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which was confident of taking power in Punjab, led in just 23 seats and was set to emerge as the main opposition in the assembly. Its ally, Lok Insaf Party, led in two seats.
In Chandigarh, security was enhanced outside the private bungalow of Amarinder Singh in the upscale Sector 10 as it became clear that the Congress was comfortably placed to win the Assembly polls.
A metal detector and more security personnel were stationed at his residence as the number of visitors increased.
Amarinder Singh, a former Punjab Chief Minister, turned 75 years old on Saturday.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, led in his Lambi seat over his rivals Amarinder Singh (Congress) by over 20,000 votes.
Amarinder Singh led by nearly 35,000 votes on his Patiala-urban seat over AAP candidate Balbir Singh.
Akali Dal rival JJ Singh, a former Army chief and a former Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, was set to lose his security deposit on this seat.
The Chief Minister's son Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Akali Dal president, led in Jalalabad -- after initially trailing to the AAP's Bhagwant Mann.
The Congress was also leading on the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat by nearly 79,000 votes where a by-election was held along with the Assembly polls.