Saturday, 4 February 2017

Is AAP Political Tsunami in Making in Punjab?

Introduction

As one drives through the urban setup in the state of Punjab where the election has just got completed, one would see well-tarred roads, sufficient water supply, and well-built and electrified houses on either side, with some of them even putting the posh houses in Delhi’s Defence Colony into shame. Looking at these, one may wonder why one would question the incumbent Akali Dal government for its governance. Looking at all these urban parameters, a visitor would safely surmise that the current government would easily get its third term. Moment one steps into the countryside in that state, the situation seems to present itself differently with unmaintained roads, thatched-roof houses, water shortages etc. glaring before our eyes. This is the cause of the deceptive calm that one would encounter in the rural setup. Underneath this calm is the seething churn that would easily push the ruling political party Akali Dal into political oblivion in no time. This political undercurrent is expected to propel the hitherto unknown political party Aam Admi Party (AAP) into ascendance. In this blog post, we would be looking at the new political undercurrent that is sweeping the state for the benefit of readers who follow political dynamics.


Political Change

If the changes perceivable in the villages of Malwa - the southern part of Punjab - are anything to go by, one can expect the current two-party political order to get replaced by a three-party order with the coming of AAP in the state. This region is a politically very important region as it sends 63 legislators to the state assembly in every state election. In this region, the AAP’s clarion call “Kejriwal, Kejriwal, saara Punjab tere naal” is getting louder. In 2014 general election, AAP could win as many as 4 Lok Sabha seats, including that from Congress leader Amarinder Singh’s pocket borough Patiala. Truly, the AAP “lehar” or wave seems to have swept this region, leaving behind Indian National Congress (INC) that somehow seems to have lost the opportunity in this region in the distant second position.


Reason

People of this region (Malwa) have begun to see AAP as the party of change. They seem to think that they should go with the newer party rather than choosing one of the two parties that have held the sway in the two-party political order to look for change. For them, the “Badal Bedalo” or change Badal is the cry. After the reign of 10 years, the ruling Akali Dal seems to have got weighed down by the anti-incumbency factor. The youths of the region have become disillusioned with the Prakash Singh Badal government due to lack of jobs, security issues, and insufficient law and order. Even the blame for the drug menace lies at the Chief Minister’s feet as the idle and well-educated youth succumb to this habit in the villages. Basically, the well-educated youths expect the government jobs and move away from the tilling of land for agriculture work. Against this backdrop, AAP seems to have made efforts to connect with the youth to reach their parents, especially their mothers. This innovative approach has helped the women to break the tradition of following their men folks. AAP has also successfully highlighted the failure of Badal government to catch the culprits who tore the pages of Guru Granth Sahib in October 2015. This incident had culminated in the shooting in Bargari last year. Due to this reason, Akali Dal is faring far behind in the third position in the current political scenario, behind AAP and INC.


Thuruvananthapuram Punjab, India
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