Politicians are nowadays behaving like chameleons. They can switch loyalty at any moment, provided they are offered with the better option than what they enjoy in their parent party.
Given consideration to the latest developments, Pramod Kumar, Director, Institute for Development and Communication, Chandigarh, rightly says, “Elections are being treated as events to be managed by professional managers without any ideology, commitment to pro-people politics with the sole aim to win. Besides anti-incumbency that provides a safe passage to parties without vision, the winnability criteria allows faceless politicians’ entry into politics and incentivises the hopping from one party to another.”
“As if parties are nothing, but dharamshalas without doors,” he observes.
Six-time Akali MLA and who was also the minister in Parkash Singh Badal cabinet, former minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur is the classic example of it. Immediately after learning that party rejected his ticket claim this time, for his name being surfaced in the drugs case the probe of which is being conducted by the Enforcement Directorate, he broke his decades’ old ties with the Akali Dal and joined the Congress.
While turning coat, he would have not considered the pain and anguishes of his supporters who would fought with Congressmen for him in the past. Interestingly, now the Congress too doesn’t seem to be in a mood to allot ticket to him, thanks to the controversy he courted.
Phillaur is not the only case, Rajwinder Kaur Bhagike, Maheshinder Singh, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Avinash Chander, Pargat Singh, Navjot Kaur and Gurtej Singh Ghuriana, all MLAs in 14th Punjab assembly, have switched to Congress, after learning that the SAD-BJP alliance had lost love for them.
Meanwhile, the Congress’ former MLA Surinderpal Singh Sibia joined the Akali Dal and the party fielded him as candidate from Barnala assembly. Former Congress MLA Parkash Singh Bhatti is the SAD nominee from Balluana and the Akali Dal’s three-time MLA Gurtej Singh Ghuriana, in protest, joined the Congress with an expectation to get ticket from the new party.
The Akali Dal’s sitting MP from Ferozepur Sher Singh Ghubaya is also upset with the party and it is for what his son Davinder Singh Ghubaya joined the Congress in the presence of Amarinder Singh. Ghubaya family was expecting ticket for him from any of the border constituencies, including Jalalabad from where Sukhbir Singh Badal is contesting, but later it was learnt that he doesn’t qualify for the same as per the EC norms.
Meanwhile, in a setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Jalandhar Cantonment, the group of disgruntled volunteers led by former Indian women’s hockey captain Rajbir Kaur joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Former chief of Army Staff General J J Singh recently joined the SAD and the party immediately pitted him against Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh from Patiala.
Further, AAP’s suspended MP from Patiala Dharamvir Gandhi and the expelled state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur have formed their separate fronts. The two leaders are now allotting tickets to the people who also left the AAP with them to contest the upcoming assembly polls.
Meanwhile, Congress’ former MLA Sukhpal Khaira is now the Congress nominee from Bholath and there will dozens of other such examples including the recent development in which former Panjab University Campus Students’ Council president Rajwinder Singh Lucky, who was denied the ticket from Congress after he lost 2012 polls on the party symbol from Balachaur, on Wednesday joined the AAP in the presence of Arvind Kejriwal.
Earlier, former Akali minister Manpreet Singh Badal, after unsuccessfully contesting 2012 Vidhan Sabha polls under the banner of Peoples’ Party of Punjab (PPP), merged it with the Congress just few weeks back and the party has given at least five tickets to the people came from the PPP, including him. While contesting for PPP, Manpreet and all his candidates used to hold Congress equally responsible of all problems in Punjab.
If one goes by the record, the history of Punjab is full of instances when the political parties entered into mergers, post-election coalitions and pre-election alliances. Two top political rivals of the state-Parkash Singh Badal and Captain Amarinder Singh-are not exception to this menace. They two have switched their loyalties in the past but their reasons were more of emotional ones not the rejection of their ticket claims.
In contrast, these pre-election electoral alliances with a large number of politicians emerging as turncoats, seeking better survival options in politics, are a more recent phenomenon, which makes the thinker observe the political culture and terrain of Punjab becoming an ideological freak and rudderless.