Punjab 2017

Exit poll trends worry parties in Punjab

Sukhbir Singh Badal. File photo   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

The anxiety among the political parties in Punjab has only grown, after several exit polls published on Friday saw a tough contest between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, while predicting a huge defeat for the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine in the State.

Political analysts believe the equations changed with the entry of the AAP, which was able to set the electoral agenda and emerged as a key challenger to the ruling SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress.

“Close contests always create a flutter among candidates and parties and this is true in Punjab as well this time, thanks to the AAP – which was able to shift the bipolar party contest pattern since the 1997 elections in the State and turned it into a serious triangular fight,” Ashutosh Kumar, Professor of Political Science at Punjab University, told The Hindu.

Third force

Punjab politics have traditionally been dominated by the two political parties, the ruling Akali-BJP combine and the Congress. However, in the 2014 parliamentary elections, the AAP won 4 out of 13 seats in Punjab, establishing itself as the third force in the State politics.

Prof. Ashutosh points out that while the current elections are vital for the Congress and the AAP — the ruling Akali-BJP combine has least at stake. “If the AAP wins in Punjab it can set an example and project Punjab as a model State of its work to move ahead nationally. For the Congress, it would be their third defeat,” he said.

“The Akalis have least at stake but yes, if they lose badly, then they will have something to worry because gradually internal bickering could start and Sukhbir Singh Badal’s leadership could be challenged from within the party,” he added.

The Election Commission, meanwhile, has completed all arrangements across the State for the counting of votes on Saturday.

Punjab Chief Electoral Officer V.K. Singh said that for the 117 Assembly constituencies 54 counting centres have been established at 27 locations.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 8:17:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/punjab-2017/exit-poll-trends-worry-parties-in-punjab/article17444141.ece

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