Even though Assembly elections in Punjab are almost two years away, the Delhi Assembly elections have rattled political parties in Punjab. The AAP managed a 24% vote share in the parliamentary elections, their maiden electoral battle in the state; this was just two percent short of the Akalis’ vote share,
The Delhi election results have also checked the ambition of the BJP which was trying to go solo for the first time in Punjab in the next Assembly election.
Immediately after the Delhi Assembly results, Punjab state BJP president Kamal Sharma said: “BJP and SAD are as strong as before. We have reached the old agreement of seat-sharing for civic polls and will contest all future elections together.”
State BJP leaders had earlier been saying that the party should go alone in the next Assembly election.
The Congress, on the other hand, which was facing severe infighting, has also seen AAP as a challenge.
Reacting after the Delhi results, Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa said the party would hit back with gusto and expressed hope that party workers, who were the backbone of the Congress, would stand up united.
He called upon Congressmen in Punjab to meet the new challenges, which would come not from the Akali Dal-BJP combine but from AAP.
Not giving much importance to the Delhi results, even though the SAD lost all four seats it contested, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said: “AAP stands no chance. Just like the BJP had won parliamentary polls on 282 seats but could not get the same response in Delhi, the AAP, too, won’t be able to do much in Punjab. The people change their mood over time.”
However, political observers in Punjab feel the AAP cannot be wished away in the state as the SAD-BJP combine sees some of its leaders facing serious charges of involvement in drug rackets and the faction-ridden Congress’ political equity has been reduced after continuous poll drubbings. – From The Asian Age