Alliance with Captain, Dhindsa a booster shot for Punjab BJP

Even as BJP has played second fiddle to its former ally Akali Dal in previous polls in Punjab, the party is set to field candidates across the state in the changed political equations after forming an alliance with the political outfits of former CM Captain Amarinder Singh (Punjab Lok Congress) and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (SAD-Sanyukta).

The recent breach in PM Narendra Modi’s security in Punjab is likely to be a key issue for BJP, which will aggressively highlight how Congress “compromised” with the PM’s security. In light of Aap’s recent gains, it might bring some urban Hindu voters back, the party feels, as the undertone of separatism is not too far below the surface in the manner in which Khalistani groups have backed protests against the PM. 

While announcing the repeal of three farm laws, PM Modi had made it aptly clear that he had no doubts about the laws and their intensions but the government move was being taken in the wake of the agitations, which had its maximum participation from Punjab. The decision was seen as a bid to building Hindu -Sikh harmony and an effort to assuage sentiments of Punjab farmers.

BJP said the three parties have decided to issue a common “vision document” for the assembly poles and form a committee with two members from each party to decide on the particularities of sharing seats.

Party sources said it will contest 50 of 117 seats as it will field candidates in Malwa whereas Dhindsa’s party will focus on Sangrur.

Aam Aadmi Party–Tempo is high

Aam Aadmi Party Punjab president Bhagwant Mann on Sunday denies AAP talks with farm outfit, says party will go into polls with CM face. The Sangrur MP, himself is a strong contender for AAP’s chief ministerial face in Punjab.

Mann urged the individuals of Punjab to be cautious of those that do politics of hatred on the time of voting and as an alternative use their vote without concern, greed or affect.

Addressing media in Chandigarh, Mann mentioned their party by no means had any assembly with the Sanyukt Samaj Morch (SSM), headed by farm unionist-turned-politician Balbir Singh Rajewal, on seat sharing.

Mann claimed that AAP will form the federal government in Punjab on March 10. He claimed no employees will need to go on strike if AAP would come to energy. “We guarantee you that AAP already has a roadmap ready for the development of Punjab. Every section is part of this roadmap and we have been informing people about it,” he added. Mann mentioned the dimensions of the state’s exchequer depended upon the intentions of the governing party and the AAP authorities would cease the looting of authorities’ coffers, whereas replenishing the exchequer to make use of its cash for the welfare of individuals.

Undecided Farmer Outfits

In the changed scenario where AAP has categorically ruled out any tie ups with farm unionist-turned-politician Balbir Singh Rajewal, the later too, ruled out any alliance with AAP. He is rather exploring poll pact with  Gurnam Singh Chaduni’s Samyukt Sangharsh Party (SSP).

Interestingly, both outfits — Gurnam Singh Chaduni’s Samyukt Sangharsh Party (SSP) and Balbir Singh Rajewal’s Samyukta Samaj Morcha (SSM) — had earlier announced that they will separately contest all 117 seats of Punjab Assembly.

On whether the SSM would seal the tie-up with Chaduni’s outfit, Rajewal said, “Time will tell.” Chaduni too said that it was too early to say how alliance talks between the two sides. 

Political experts say the united fight by farmer outfits might dent the vote bank of mainstream political parties in Punjab especially when the state is heading for a multi-cornered contest where even a small swing in vote share can make a huge difference.

Congress in Dilemma

It will be a double challenge for the Punjab Congress as the state goes to the polls on February 14. Facing a four-way contest, the Congress is yet to resolve the differences between CM Charanjit Channi and PCC chief Navjot Sidhu.

So far, the party has been reluctant to announce the CM face and has been maintaining the line of going into the elections collectively under Channi, Sidhu and former PCC chief Sunil Jakhar, said party leader Randeep Surjewala on Saturday.

A senior party leader said riding on the “anti-Punjabiat” narrative against the BJP, the party hopes to cash in on the achievements of the Channi-led government, apart from the Dalit factor to counter opponents.

As the Congress steps up its bid to finalise party tickets for the polls, it is grappling with the challenge mounted by Sidhu, who is pushing the party to announce him as the CM candidate. (File photo)

Barely a few weeks before the Punjab Assembly elections, trouble is mounting for the ruling Congress as Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Navjot Singh Sidhu has continued to send the party dispensation into a tizzy.

Ahead of Assembly polls in early 2022, repeated verbal attacks of Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu against his own party’s government have started irking party leaders.

And two days after the Congress decided not to organise any rallies in the poll-bound states in view of the pandemic, but defying the directive Sidhu is holding a rally in Barnala on Thursday, Jan 6. His media team said that he would be reaching there in a short while and that the gathering would be massive despite the inclement weather.

Pritpal Singh Baliawal, AICC national coordinator and spokesperson of Punjab Congress, has resigned from his positions.

As the Congress wrestles with the question as to whether or not to declare a chief ministerial candidate, the opposition in Punjab has got enough space to politically target the party.

Political commentator and history professor Harjeshwar Pal Singh told that Sidhu’s position in the Congress is becoming more untenable with every passing day.

“If things continue like this, days are not far when Sidhu will leave the Congress or the latter will force him to exit after appointing someone else as Punjab Congress chief,” he said.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal has been repeatedly daring the Congress leadership to declare that Channi will continue as chief minister.