ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political and Electoral Dynamics in Punjab

Given the political churning taking place in Punjab, the electoral scene may remain quite fl uid until the votes are counted and perhaps even after the results are declared. Nevertheless, the current elections refl ect a clear decline of the earlier hegemonies, particularly of the landed aristocracy of the region, which has controlled state politics over the past fi ve decades or so.

Political Churning in Punjab before the Elections

The assembly elections are going to be held in Punjab in February 2022. All political parties are gearing up for it. The Congress party is facing internal conflicts, whereas the Akalis are making a new alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party after breaking their alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party due to the farmers’ agitation. The incumbent Congress government has failed to deliver in terms of its promises and development. Both the Akalis and the Congress will be heavily relying on their mass base. However, a big challenge has emerged in the form of the farmers’ agitation. The Aam Aadmi Party is still struggling with its agenda and organisational basis despite being the main opposition party. The standard parameters of prediction of an election result seem to be non-functional at this moment.

AAP has Decimated a Historic Mandate for Alternative Politics

The AAP stung by its recent series of electoral losses is politically pulverised and in a state of total denial that it decimated a historical mandate for alternative politics and lost a golden opportunity to position itself as the principal opposition to the BJP. AAP’s confrontational encounters and politics of antithesis have eroded their electoral base.

The Future of Progressive Politics in India

The challenge for progressives is not mobilising those who already feel an affinity with the core values enshrined in India’s Constitution and believe in a liberal, secular, and democratic India. The challenge is to convince the silent majority of India which is either not unduly bothered about the threat posed by Hindutva or feels that these very values somehow undermine their identity and culture.

An Outlier in the North

The most significant development of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Punjab was the victory of the Congress, making the state an outlier in almost all of India, except for Kerala. Neither the Bharatiya Janata Party’s narrative of national security nor its strong leader could find much traction in the state. The significant loss of the core social constituency’s (read the Sikhs) support of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the decline or almost decimation of the Aam Aadmi Party were important developments of this election.

AAP has Decimated a Historic Mandate for Alternative Politics

The AAP stung by its recent series of electoral losses is politically pulverised and in a state of total denial that it decimated a historical mandate for alternative politics and lost a golden opportunity to position itself as the principal opposition to the BJP. AAP’s confrontational encounters and politics of antithesis have eroded their electoral base.

Aam Aadmi Party as Third Player in Punjab Politics

Despite huge organisational and political blunders, the Aam Aadmi Party is still a substantial player in Punjab's electoral politics. It does not have the organisational network that the Akali Dal has nor a popular leader such as the Congress' Amarinder Singh. However, its emergence in the state has brought to the fore the issue of regional versus Delhi-centric control of party decisions and politics
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