Shift in Indian Politics
Congress’ loss was Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) gain in the recent Punjab Assembly polls. The grand old party made a mess of its own prospects by making some reckless decisions ahead of the elections including forcing Captain Amarinder Singh out and giving the reins to former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was clean-bowled and had to step down as the state’s party chief. There was a possibility of the farmers having a soft corner for the party after having stood by them throughout the prolonged protest against the controversial three farm laws, but, they failed to capitalise on that. In short, they paid the price for the wrong moves. The AAP, on the other hand, rose like a phoenix after a decent performance in the previous elections by winning 20 seats (23.72% vote share). This time, the party brought home a landslide victory, winning 92 seats (42.01% vote share) in the 117-member Punjab assembly. The credit for the thumping victory goes to party chief Arvind Kejriwal and new Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. Now that it has proven its mettle by winning an election in a full-fledged state, both national and regional political parties will take it more seriously, which means stiffer competition awaits them. The win in Punjab will help gain the trust of the people in other states as well and infuse confidence among party workers as they work towards expanding their horizons with more than 10 states going to polls before the end of next year.
Mann stated after assuming the chief minister’s office that his government would work for pro-people policies from day one and won’t waste a single day. And a day after taking the oath of office, he declared “corruption will no longer work in Punjab” and that anti-corruption helpline number would be launched in a few days so that the public can share content — video/audio – of those involved in bribery and enable the state authorities to take strict action against them. It is to be seen if the campaign will succeed but any move that will help or is aimed at curbing corruption should be appreciated. It was a good start for the party that has its roots in the anti-corruption movement. Now, it should keep the momentum and concentrate on governance; work to fulfil its promise to address education, health, electricity, unemployment and several other problems faced by the people of the state. It is also natural for the citizens to expect big, especially after the party’s good track record in the national capital. It will be a challenge to execute populist measures and policies in Punjab but Aam Aadmi Party shouldn’t fail the aam aadmi who have reposed faith in it with a massive mandate.