Punjab Polls 2017: Political uncertainty amid triangular battle between SAD-BJP, Congress & AAP

With just few days left countable on fingers to go for crucial assembly elections in Punjab, there are political uncertainty on the issue as to who will assume power post-11 March, once the results are declared.
The reason for this is that Punjab, for the first time, is witnessing triangular contests in most of the 117 assembly constituencies.
In Punjab there were days when political fight was between Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress with no third party in the picture.
In the politics of any state, new developments are born near the elections, which have impact on the political affairs of that particular state.
There had been a direct contest between SAD and Congress before 2004 Lok Sabha elections and hardly any other political party had thought of forming government in Punjab by putting its hand on the seats countable on fingers only.
But in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won four seats in Punjab at its own strength and ideology without any alliance with any political party, starting the trend of triangular contest.
In 2017 elections in Punjab, it will be for the first time that there will be strong contest between SAD-BJP alliance, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party. The recent visits of  Arvind Kejriwal, convener of AAP in Punjab, ahead of the elections, are an indication of activeness of the party leaving a brunt on the politics of the state.
It had been a tradition after the reorganization of Punjab in 1966 that the Congress and SAD have been alternatively forming the government. However, in 2007, SAD-BJP alliance government had come into existence. As per the trend of politics in Punjab, it was the turn of Congress in 2012 but it happened otherwise and SAD-BJP got the second term.
Another development which cropped up in Punjab's politics was the interest of family members. It is an admitted fact that every politician wants to project his family members in the politics.
But in Punjab, during 2012, a new concept was launched of involvement of family members. After winning the elections, Parkash Singh Badal himself become the Chief Minister and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal was appointed as Deputy Chief Minister. Not only this, the important portfolios in the ministry are either with them or with the close relatives.

Traditional rivals, the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance and the Congress, are not only fighting each other, but are aware of the political challenge being posed by the latest entrant on Punjab's political turf — the fledgling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
With each party claiming to be heading for a clear and sweeping majority in the February 4 elections, earlier the question being asked by each one is “Will Punjab end up with a hung assembly?” but with the Aya Ram Gya Ram trend of turncoats, the main fight now looks to be between SAD-BJP and Congress barring few seats for AAP despite its terrifying entry.
Perhaps this is the first time there has been delay in announcing the candidates by all the political parties with a view to filed new and young faces and waiting for the turncoats for their final verdicts to join the particular party or to fight as an independent candidate.
No doubt, AAP has started political campaign from June last year but it is fighting within itself over allegations of corruption in allotment of tickets, accusations of immporal activities of some leaders, lack of any big leader from Punjab who could be projected as the party’s face and internal rumblings about outsiders — mainly leaders from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and other states — running the AAP show in Punjab at the cost of local leaders, have all taken a toll on the party.
In fact, AAP wants to repeat a Delhi-type political magic in Punjab when it won 67 of the 70 assembly seats in the 2015 assembly polls.
The Akali Dal-BJP alliance, which has been in power in the state since 2007 for two consecutive terms, is aiming for a third stint. It is to be seen as to whether Akali Dal president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is able to once again deploy his strategic skills which, in the 2012 assembly election, broke the five-year Akali-Congress cycle of governments.
But his party faces anti-incumbency of the past decade, charges of corruption, and criticism that the financial health and clout of the ruling Badal family — headed by his father Parkash Singh Badal Chief Minister has been multiplying at the cost of the state.
There also allegations of the Badals patronizing drug cartels and other mafias in money-spinning businesses like sand mining, infrastructure, transport and cable TV.
Frankly speaking, another importance of elections in Punjab is that since the Parliament elections are due in 2019, it will separate the contenders for Lok Sabha elections from the pretenders.
Its result will also decide the destiny of two men eyeing for an opportunity to rise up and challenge the BJP in the next general election — Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi.
Punjab is important because it is the only state out of the five going to polls between January and March where both Congress and AAP have a real chance of winning.
The ten years of incumbency and the cooked up  anger against corruption, drug mafia and dynastic rule have put the BJP-SAD government in a tight corner. Only a miracle could save the alliance in the triangular contest.
For the Congress, a victory in Punjab would be the first sign of hope since it went into coma after the advent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the scene. In 2013, since it lost Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Chhattisgarh, the Congress has managed to win only in Karnataka. A string of losses has put it on the verge of disappearance.
The delaying in announcing the candidates by Congress and BJP in alliance with SAD party even when the nomination process has started, turncoat leader’s declaration, rebel leaders threatening to file nominations as an independent candidates and AAP being a self-consciously faceless organization in Punjab, depending purely on Kejriwal’s name and magnetism,  have made the game more complicated.
Such decisions are likely to hurt its chances those who feel to distance themselves from the party and spoiling the show to form the government with majority to give a powerful democracy and powerful nation, by contesting as independent candidates.
Anyhow, all the three major players are charting a difficult and uncertain course, leaving the voters confused to take final decision to use their right to franchise. No doubt the advantage always goes to the ruling party SAD who is projecting to form the government in Punjab for the third time. But the fight will remain between SAD-BJP and when AAP will establish its identity in Punjab with little more seats than before. 
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