Punjab Elections 2017: Looks to be on revolving-door pattern

Punjab Elections 2017: Looks to be on revolving-door pattern

Chances of revolving-door pattern – changing the government headed by different political party - after every five years, are bright…


Politics in Punjab is presently dominated by two political parties having sworn-alliance government - Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) for the second term. However, with the declaring of election year, all political parties are on their toes, to tap all sources and resources, to be in power in 2017 Assembly elections.
In the past, the BJP had sometime announced to break the alliance and contest independently but it could not, perhaps due to the reason that the BJP is not in a position to form the government with majority and has to continue in alliance.
Apart from SAD and BJP, the other prominent party is Bahujan Samaj Party especially in Doaba region.  In 1992 BSP won 9 seats Vidhan Sabha elections. Also BSP won 3 Lok Sabha seats from Punjab in 1996 general elections and only Garhshanker seat in 1997 Vidhan Sabha elections. Communist parties also have some influence in Malwa area.
The government was elected in the 2012 Assembly elections as the coalition of SAD and the BJP won 68 out of 117 Assemble seats and Prakash Singh Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal as Chief Minister.
In 2014 general elections, Aam Aadmi Party got 4 out of 13 seats in Punjab by winning 35 coming second on 25 out of 117 assembly segments. However, the support Base of Aam Aadmi Party is increasing in Punjab.
Added here that during 1947-1966 Punjab was undivided and consisted of present-day Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Chandigarh. This meant that both population and religion factor of whole state was mixed and politics were dominated by Indian National Congress.
But with the entry of Aam Aadmi Party during the Parliament elections by winning 4 seats from Punjab, has established its identity in the state.  At the same time, forming of AAP’s government in Delhi by Arvind Kejriwal and starting of campaign, well before the elections due in 2017, has given a threat to the political alliance in Punjab.
No doubt, the SAD-BJP has made tremendous development in certain fields but still, farmers community and common man are not happy with the working style of Badals, who are keeping the BJP leaders dominated and keeping hold on all major businesses  – transport, cable, sand with no employment opportunities to the youths as compared to the pass-outs from colleges and universities – the people of Punjab are fed up.  Its failure to please the working class especially the teachers’ community – which produces every class – is working on contract basis for the last more than ten years.  Not only this, the single handed breadwinners have not been paid wages for number of months – has put a big question mark on the political stand in the coming elections.
All the time cursing the previous government – Congress – is not digestible to the people of Punjab when SAD-BJP is in completing its 9 years second term.
Take the latest case of Rs.12,000 crore wheat scam the onus of which is being passed on the previous government for not settling the claims since 2003-04 with the Central government is not palatable when Badal’s own government could not decide it for nine years. The issue cropped up when the stake holders RBI, SBI and FCI  asked for the accounts of the previous year’s cash credit limits and the government started showing the pending claims to be received from the Central government. The controversy has been given the name of Punjab Foodgrain Scam and the government itself has admitted that the stocks in hand of 108.13 lac tone includes damaged wheat and increase due to moisture gain as per FCI norms but physically not available. It looks that the ruling government has to pay a big price on the political front as it could not square up the accounts during its nine years’ tenure.
Anyhow, whatever may be the outcome of this scam, since this is an important election for the Congress in Punjab, which is looking for an Assembly election victory, the opposition parties including Congress and AAP, has got the issue in hand, to put before the public during the election year.
Not only this, the Arora Mahasabha which has around 20 per cent population in Punjab, have put forth its claim demanding 24 seats to contest, which contributes a lion’s share in generating the revenue being a business class.  If the trend of community based demanding of seats in the coming elections takes the momentum, it will not be an easy task for the SAD and BJP to have easy win-win situation.
Frankly speaking, with the present responsiveness for a change like in Delhi, going on in the minds of the people of Punjab and the Congress desperately needs to return to power, the chances of revolving-door pattern – changing the government headed by different political party - after every five years.
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