In December 2015 AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal surprised everyone with the announcement that his party is going to contest in the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections 2017 on all 117 seats and everyone was pretty amazed because AAP performed poorly in general elections of 2014 but the present scenerio is totally different and the AAP now has became one of the main protagonist in the ongoing theatrical mode of politics.But question in the minds of political analysts is whether a four-year-old party facing two of the oldest surviving parties in India will be able to bring about a critical shift in the bipolar party system well established in the state since the 1997 elections.
The political arena of punjab has two main competitors BJP’s ally Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress but people saw a third key player the Aam Aadmi party(AAP) during the 2014 general elections. AAP won four Lok Sabha seats out of a total of 13 that it contested from Punjab.Apart from Punjab it not only lost every seat it contested but 414 out of the 434 candidates it fielded forfeited their security deposits. Since recovering from militancy, Punjab has been reeling under post-Green Revolution stagnation, drug menace, alleged institutionalized capitalism, corruption, and an overall governance deficit. This explains why voters chose to put their faith in the debutant AAP despite the party lacking in terms of organizational presence or a state-specific agenda, now its is dominance in punjab politics is much higher than old players such as BJP,BSP and PPP.
The BJP, due to its limited support base among the urban caste Hindus, has been unable to contest on its own. It has been dependent on the Akali Dal to gain rural as well Sikh votes. This has been one of the reasons that the BJP has not been able to break the alliance despite getting a meager 23 out of 117 seats in the assembly.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is another political party that has become
less relevant in Punjab over time after a promising start.If there were to be a party in Punjab’s post-militancy period that could have emerged as a relevant, if not a winnable party, it is the BSP. In a state with nearly
one-third of its population belonging to the scheduled castes (SCs),the BSP with its social support base among the lower castes, especially the SCs, was expected to present the third alternative after its impressive debut in 1992. The founding president of the BSP, Kanshi Ram, was a Punjabi from Ropar. Under Mayawati,
the party concentrated its focus and energy on capturing and retaining political
power in Uttar Pradesh. In the process, the party leadership, mainly drawn from
Uttar Pradesh, largely neglected Punjab. As a result, the party has floundered in
the state, securing less than five percent of the polled votes in the last two assembly elections.
The Punjab Peoples Party (PPP), founded in 2010, is another political party
that declined after a promising start. Under the charismatic leadership of
Manpreet Badal,the PPP secured five percent of the votes cast in the 2012
elections. However, since then the PPP simply withered away. The now defunct
party, however, shall be remembered for ensuring the unexpected victory of the
incumbent Akali Dal-BJP in 2012 elections as it received crucial anti-
incumbency votes that would otherwise have gone to the Congress.
But in very short period of time AAP emerged as third player because the people who voted for the party in Lok Sabha election saw AAP as a movement party . AAP contested on all 117 seats of punjab and polling took place on 4th feb 2017. Many opinion polls are showing that Kejriwal’s party will emerge as second largest party in the state and the latest opinion poll of Huffpost is claiming that AAP will form the government punjab but the fate of AAP will be decided on 11th march 2017 when the results of assembly election will be announnced.