Punjab has been the victim of drug abuse, farmers suicide, corruption, terrorism and whatnot. And when a state votes, it keeps all its sufferings in mind. Political analysts claimed at the beginning that, the anger against regional parties and leaders will push the Aam Aadmi Party towards the majority. But after the Khalistan row, the complete picture of Punjab elections has changed. The pre-predicted win of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party is in question now.
Punjab and its Politics
Punjab is a border state that has been strategically very crucial for New Delhi. Punjab elections are seen in alignment with National interest and security. Punjab has witnessed a movement of separatists and had to bear the brunt. Historically, the voters of Punjab have voted keeping both the state and nation in mind.
In Punjab, the history of politics and politicians have been maligned over time. Congress and Akalis have majorly ruled Punjab. The Congress has fallen from grace, due to its constant failures to deliver promised results. The main reason why voters can be seen drifting away from Congress was the tussle within the party. BJP was not allowed to grow, the main culprit behind is the Akalis, who limited BJP to the urban votes.
The rise of Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab
The Akalis have been ousted out of Punjab elections, by the people of Punjab themselves. The Congress, neither delivered results, nor could stabilize the state. The BJP has been trying to grow after being crippled by the Akalis for decades.
In between all of this, a party that has its presence just in Delhi creates hype in Punjab with its PR skills. Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party after winning Delhi has been trying to capture other smaller states of India.
After being negated from every state they went to, AAP began to register its presence in Punjab. A party without cadre and voter base tried to remain in news as well as in the political space through exceptional PR skills.
The Journey of AAP in Punjab
The party after registering its presence was now ready to contest elections. The year was 2017 when AAP decided to contest assembly elections in Punjab. With the help of its advertisement and promised freebies, AAP just managed to grab the chair of the main opposition party. The hype and vibe created by the Aam Aadmi Party could not bring in electoral results.
After the infight of Congress and undelivered promises caught up the voters attention. Arvind Kejriwal began to sell his ‘Delhi model’ in Punjab. The party under his leadership started advertising for schools, roads, electricity, water.
The surveys started falling in favour of Kejriwal. It seemed that he was attaining the numbers. The Mann- Kejriwal duo was everywhere, from social media to TV to hoardings.
Then suddenly, there came breaking news, ‘Kejriwal has the support of separatists.’ This bombshell was dropped by none other than, Kejriwal’s oldest ally, ex AAP leader Kumar Vishwas.
Khalistan Gate: No door for Kejriwal in Punjab
Punjab is a state that has seen Operation Blue Star. There has been enormous bloodshed due to the Khalistani separatist. Punjab needs a leader and a government that can flog Khalistani separatists and sympathizers into the ground.
After allegations from not one, not two but three old associates, Kejriwal’s intent is in question. After the Khalistan row was initiated by Kumar Vishwas, Gul Panag and Alka Lamba also aligned against Arvind Kejriwal.
Punjab is surely not going to vote for a party that sympathises with the extremists or takes financial support, both of the allegations are still to be proven. But then who will Punjab vote for?
Punjab’s upcoming government
Punjab currently ruled by Congress has witnessed a very ruthless leadership change. Captain Amarinder Singh who held an image of a strong administrator has been replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi. The Congress registered victory, every time it declared Captain as its CM face, from 2002 to 2017. The humiliation of Captian is surely going to cost Congress more than its unfulfilled promises.
The question of AAP securing a majority is out of the question, as no ‘Punjabi’ will vote for the return of bloodshed in Punjab. Arvind Kejriwal’s under the table alliance with extremists will put him and his party in the backseat.
The Political Pandits after the Khalistan Row are predicting a hung assembly or fractured mandate. And in the case of a fractured mandate, the ‘not too dominant’ party is benefitted. In the coming time, the rural and Jat Sikh voters may align with the BJP+ alliance. The BJP has a stronghold on the urban class especially Punjabi Hindus. The Jat Sikh voters will align with Captain Amarinder Singh and his Punjab Lok Congress. And the third ally of the BJP+ alliance, Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) may garner the Dalit voters of the state.
With the Khalistan row, the people of Punjab have understood that a person who allies with extremists and separatists can do no good to the state and this will be reflected in the electoral mandate too.