AAP’s stunning debut in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections has served notice to Congress and BJP for the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab next year. AAP won 14 out of 35 seats, relegating BJP to second place and pushing Congress to third. This was the first election in north India since the BJP government at the Centre repealed the three farm laws that triggered a year-long protest by farmers. While Punjab’s governing Congress had hoped to benefit from the farmer agitation, AAP may well spring a surprise in the state polls.
However, AAP’s biggest drawback is that it doesn’t have a strong pan-Punjab face. And with some farmer unions taking the political plunge themselves, the party may not get the rural votes it was hoping for. Meanwhile, the Punjab political field has already become crowded with former chief minister Amarinder Singh floating his own political party and tying up with BJP. On the other hand, the Congress cannot be counted out either despite its internal party problems.
Read also: What Chandigarh civic polls results may mean for AAP, BJP and others
Nonetheless, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s promise of bringing the Delhi model of public education and healthcare to Punjab is gaining traction. Therefore, a veritable multi-cornered contest in Punjab could throw up surprises, including a hung assembly. With its Chandigarh victory, AAP is certainly emerging as a strong contender.
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