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Punjab Polls: A Referendum for Congress Before 2024, Survival for Akalis & Decisive for AAP’s Future

February 20 is a very important day for the democracy of India, as Punjab is set to vote on Sunday. Voters from the state will decide not only the fate of Punjab but also the roadmap of General Elections 2024. Punjab election will decide whether Congress built some muscles to take on BJP that looks to the third term at Centre. Congress, despite being in power in the state, is not able to pose invincible fight against its rivals- AAP, Akalis, and BJP. The infighting in every party in almost every state is a new normalcy in Congress; this, possibly, is going to hurt the ruling party’s prospects in the polls. The new leadership under Navjot Singh Sidhu and Charanjeet Singh Channi is yet to prove its poll-winning ability. Captain Amarinder Singh’s ouster from the party will have some impacts.

On the other side, powered by Bhagwant Singh Mann and Arvind Kejriwal, AAP is looking to create a history. Going by pollsters’ predictions, AAP has the edge; if it comes true, the party will be the third political force that will rule more than one state. It means it will have a bigger say in the upcoming 2024 poll battle on the national front.

Protest against SBI’s guidelines for its pregnant employees-AICCTU

Most media houses are showing a direct fight between Congress and AAP. However, the undercurrent is also a reality in Indian democracy. So, claims of Akalis and BJP cannot be overlooked. Even in a hung assembly scenario, they will play a king maker’s role.

This time, the tallest political figure of the state—former CM Captain Amarinder Singh is with BJP as his newly floated party, Punjab Lok Congress, formed an alliance with the saffron party. Singh did not get much time to build infrastructure for his party across the state, but BJP’s logistic support will empower him. However, the sudden ideological change may backfire on him. Moreover, BJP has lost its old partner Akalis due to Farm Laws and its popularity in the agricultural state, Punjab. It’s hard to imagine that BJP and PLC will win the polls.

Akali’s leaving BJP was politically correct, which may help Sukhbir Singh Badal’s party. SAD made an alliance with BSP to woo Dalit votes, but decreasing popularity of Mayawati in politics is unlikely to help Akalis.

In the last couple of years, the ideological firmness of pollical parties in India grew weaker, so anything could be possible if one party did not get the majority in Punjab. There’s a possibility that Akalis may join NDA as Farm Laws -the cause of divorce- was already revoked. Or Akalis may join hands with Congress to keep AAP out of power in the state.

Going by these projections, the Punjab battle is going to be very interesting.

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