By :- Karan Arora
Congress chief ministerial face Capt Amarinder Singh should not have asked for a better gift on his 75th birthday. the congress returned to power in Punjab on 11 March. A former soldier, he scripted a huge win for congress in Punjab, proving most exit polls wrong that predicted a tight contest with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. The Congress notched 77 of the 117 seats, up from the 46 in the 2012 assembly election. This is the party’s second best ever performance in the state. Amarinder who is all set to be the next CM fought from two seats. He won in Patiala but lost to Parkash Singh Badal in Lambi.
1) Take steps to end drug menace in 4 weeks
2) Debt waiver for farmers
3) Provide one job, per family
4) Boost industry and trade
5) Deliver poll promises on empty coffers
Making a last-minute entry into the Congress, the cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu not only trounced his BJP rival Honey with a big margin of over 42000 votes from Amritsar(east) but also played a key role in a game changing for the party in the crucial Majha region. Sidhu campaigned hard in the region and made a huge impact in the neighboring seats. The congress won 10 out of the 11 seats in Amritsar district
Reasons for AAP lost in Punjab
The Aam Aadmi Party have lost a winning battle in Punjab, and the reasons are not difficult to assess
The party made it Punjab assembly polls debut, came in second. Punjab was the only state from where the arvind kejriwal led party had won 4 lok sabha seats mopping up a 24.4% vote share.
AAP’s loss could be attributed to it losing touch with the urban Hindu and moderate Sikh voter when a perception grew that the party was hobnobbing with Sikh hardliners.
The party’s inability to project a credible Jat Sikh face as its candidate for the chief minister’s post ahead of the polls dented its fortunes. Top contenders for the CM’s post such as Bhagwant Mann and Harinder Singh Phoolka campaigned with uncertainty. Also, Kejriwal’s inability to pull in popular cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who could have been a big asset for the AAP, has had an impact.
Mann too remained embroiled in controversies as parliamentarian through the election year, after he posted live pictures from inside Parliament on social media.
The party was divided on a trust deficit between local AAP leaders and its high command in New Delhi, leading to the emergence of an “outsider-versus-insider” rhetoric.
Reasons for SAD-BJP lost in Punjab
In Punjab, the BJP, in an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had won 68 of the 117 Assembly seats in 2012. This time however, the SAD-BJP alliance was relegated to third place, winning just 18 out of the 117 seats and finishing behind Congress and AAP.
The flourishing drug trade, unemployment, farmer suicides and the problem of land mafia seem to be factors which led to a drop in the fortunes of the ruling alliance in Punjab.
The Congress and AAP made the most of this opportunity to undermine SAD’s fortunes in the elections. Both the Congress and AAP promised to end drug trafficking in Punjab within months if elected to power.
Punjab also has the highest percentage of Scheduled Castes in the country, at around 31 per cent according to the 2011 census. The Dalit vote is likely to have been divided between AAP and Congress.
As the SAD’s vote bank has historically never included Dalits.
However, the ruling alliance has still done better than most pollsters imagined. While most exit polls predicted under 10 seats for the SAD-BJP alliance, it is leading on 18 seats out of 117.
At the end, I would like to say that it’s a very good win for congress and I hope that they will work for the development of Punjab and make it drug-free state.