The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday released its first list of candidates for 19 constituencies for the Punjab Assembly elections, scheduled for early 2017. The development that made the AAP to steal the march from the two major political players—the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress—charged up the atmosphere across the state with common man questioning each other about the poll predictions.
However, claiming that the majority of faces fielded in the poll ring by the party being not much familiar to the voters, the political observers are not in a mood to resort to any kind of calculations at this early stage. Their restraint is also influenced by some other factors like the non-disclosure of opponents and the infighting within the AAP, which could not be stopped ever since the conception of the party.
Right from the emergence of difference with anti-corruption campaign crusader Anna Hazare, followed by a major spilt at national level as well as the state level, which further gave birth to ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’ and its further units are there for the political observers to keep into consideration while coming up with any comment about the AAP.
There is no if-and-but that the AAP, in the past, has gained ground in Punjab for different reasons including the strong anti-incumbency campaigns against the SAD-BJP alliance that has been ruling for past about nine-and-a-half-year, the shortcomings in the main opposition party Congress and also the relatively too poor show by the BSP and Left parties in the past, it is still not viable to gauge the dent it would put on the vote share of the two arch-rivals—the SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress for the party’s own shortcomings in the structure.
For an already faction-ridden party, the emergence of dissent voices which are spreading quite rapidly after the release of the first list of candidates from one constituency to another is a quite serious and dangerous issue at this stage. If a senior member of the AAP H S Kingra, after being denied of the party ticket, came up with an allegation that the tickets were being sold at high prices which he could not pay up, the party’s state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur also failed to suppress his grouse.
Immediate after the release of the candidates’ list, which was done in his absence at Chandigarh, Chhotepur came out with his reaction. Though he refuted the media report that he tendered his resignation in annoyance over the development, the next day he admitted that he was not happy with the list as there were strong objections against the names of some candidates in the list. Chhotepur’s saying that he would meet national convener Arvind Kejriwal to get the issue redressed further created ripples in the party as many of the ticket allottees started feeling discomfort from him expecting them to be on his radar.
Amid this, hundreds of party workers and leaders belonging to Bathinda (rural) assembly constituency raised their flag of revolt against party candidate Rupinder Kaur Ruby. They also went on announcing on Saturday that the party was going far from its policies and promises. Before the party could launch a move to sort out the issue in Bathinda, the workers at Payal assembly segment in Ludhiana also came on roads against the party’s selection of candidate for them. They protested against Gurpreet Singh Lapran, the party candidate, terming him as ‘Golak Chor’. The volunteers also burnt his effigy in front of bus stand and alleged that some party leaders misguided Kejriwal to announce an “incapable candidate” for them.
While the AAP volunteers and leaders are raising voice against their party candidates, the SAD and the Congress are now celebrating the moment, stating that the early announcement of list would expose the AAP and once destabilised they would not be able to handle the situation.
No doubt the statement of the SAD and Congress is full of anguish and their own bias as the two who are now commenting on the AAP also don’t know that how much tough the situation they would be facing once their lists are out, still the absence of one specific face that the whole party could look at for taking the directions in Punjab (unlike the Badals in SAD and Captain in Congress) is a major problem for the party workers.
It will be worth watching that how much do they go by the directions from Delhi as now the party volunteers at ground level have also started feeling uncomfortable with the dominance of leadership deputed here from other states. Though those pacifying them float an excuse that the Congress in Punjab also takes the directions from Delhi but the anguished volunteers don’t shy in stating that “despite all they were lacking a strong leader in the state who could keep the flock together.”
Now it is the high time for AAP leadership to realise the sentiments of the people attached with the party as “volunteers of a campaign” and give them a face that they can all look upon for their issues. And in Punjab, which is altogether different from Delhi’s ballgame, they would like a dominating personality who may take on the incumbent Badals and the Patiala Royal simultaneously.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook