Winds of change lift AAP in Punjab

Massive mandate for party indicates a trust deficit with Congress, Akali Dal and BJP

Updated - September 27, 2023 11:45 pm IST

Published - March 10, 2022 03:29 pm IST - CHANDIGARH

Aam Aadmi Party supporters holding brooms, the party’s symbol, dance in celebration as the party heads to a landslide victory in the Punjab Assembly elections, in Jalandhar, on March 10.

Aam Aadmi Party supporters holding brooms, the party’s symbol, dance in celebration as the party heads to a landslide victory in the Punjab Assembly elections, in Jalandhar, on March 10. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) big victory in the Punjab Assembly polls hints that the State people have voted for ‘alternative politics’. It also shows a trust-deficit on the traditional parties – the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP. The AAP was leading in over 90 seats of the the 117 constituencies.

The ‘disillusionment’ of the voters from the traditional parties could be gauged from the fact that stalwarts of the Congress and the SAD faced drubbing at the hands of relative newcomers of the AAP. Among those who were trailing in their constituencies included Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi (both seats), former Chief Minister and SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Also read | Live updates on election results of Uttar PradeshUttarakhand, Goa and Manipur

In its campaign, the AAP sought voters to give it ‘a chance’ against the ‘traditional’ parties - to let it replicate the ‘Delhi model of governance’, where it’s in power. The clear mandate reflects that the issues of improved education and better health services had made a cut among voters, who felt that over the years these sectors were neglected by the successive governments of the Congress and the SAD-BJP.

No ‘outsider’

The announcement of Punjab-based Bhagwant Mann as its chief ministerial candidate also worked in favour of the AAP, as it helped the party to counter the narrative of an ‘outsider’ party. The win for the AAP is all set to boost party supremo Arvind Kejriwal’s prospect to launch himself in 2024 as a national leader.

With its government in Punjab, the AAP could now work towards setting an example of their work and project Punjab as a model State of their work to move ahead nationally. The AAP pitched its campaign surrounding the ‘Delhi model of governance’, seeking ‘one chance’ to form the next government, which seems to have cut the ice among voters.

The drubbing faced by the ruling Congress makes it evident that it has paid a heavy cost for its internal infighting besides the anti-incumbency factor. The party, ahead of the polls, had bet its fortune surrounding the ‘Dalit’ politics, which also have failed to pay the dividend.

Major setback for SAD

For the SAD, which was seeking to make a political comeback with a new alliance partner – the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the election trends are a major setback. As the SAD looks facing one of its worst electoral drubbings by unlikely to reach even the two-figure mark, the Akalis will have something to worry about because gradually internal bickering could start in the party and Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal’s leadership could begin to see a challenge from within the party. It seems to have failed yet again to gain the trust of its core ‘Panthic’ (Sikh) voters. It also seemed to have faced farmers’ ire and suffered a loss of being a partner with the BJP when the controversial farm laws were enacted.

The alliance of the BJP-Punjab Lok Congress-Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) seems to have failed to leave any mark as the alliance looked formidable in only a little over a couple of constituencies.

The debut of farmer unions under the banner of ‘Samyukt Samaj Morcha’ (SSM) - an amalgamation of 22 Punjab-based farmer outfits that actively participated against the farm laws – also couldn’t leave any impact on the State’s electoral politics.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.