Chandigarh, December 25: The Bharatiya Janata Party that is perceived to piggyback the Akali Dal in every Lok Sabha and the Assembly election since 1996 could emerge as the silent killed in February 2017 elections in Punjab. Although it would be confined to 23 out of 117 seats as per the alliance formula, the BJP could cause major upsets to the opposition parties under the changing situation in the country that is being dictated the forces that have been unleashed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in general and the Sangh Parivar in general. The party is assessed to be on the upswing.
The speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Mumbai while performing Jal Poojan for the Rs 3600 money dump that is Shivaji memorial in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai coast, was significant from the point of his added thrust on what can be interpreted as the ‘class war’- a term that is part of the Left terminology. After a long time, one could hear the same ‘ Modi- Modi-Modi’ orchestrated slogan shouting at a high pitch. He talked about one percent of the rich being responsible for the plight of the 99 per cent of the population while asserting that the situation would be reversed after December 30 next. He was talking of the impact of his demonitisation on black money. He called upon the ordinary people to bear the brunt of his policies for some more time before the benefits started accruing to this class.
He did not talk of the criminal wastage on this memorial that, as per the present estimate, would cost Rs 3600 and cause irreparable damage to the environment, besides impacting the lives of about 50,000 fishermen as the area is breeding ground for fish. The final cost go could up. Punjab has been witnessing such unproductive spending by the Akali Dal-BJP governments over the years beginning with the Khalsa memorial the foundation stone of which was laid in April 1999 and is still to be completed even after spending hundreds of crores. One can’t count the number of memorials that have come up in this state where the farmers continue to commit suicides every day with the Parkash Singh Badal shifting the blame on lop sided farm policies. It is the government that has to formulate policies and the state government can’t escape the blame.
Demonitisation has raised the hopes of a major section of the people who continue to bear the pain of demonitisation as this expectation is being continuously being fed to them by Modi who is a highly successful marketing man, including for Paytm and Jio. This hope factor along with tinge of communal political discourse is a potent combination. Modi factor has the potential to play a significant role in Punjab 2017 elections.
However, the Congress is worried more from what is being perceived to be revival of Aam Aadmi Party during the last about one month when the entire party set up from Punjab camped in Delhi lobbying for tickets. State party chief Capt Amarinder Singh had been emphatic ever since he replaced Partap Singh Bajwa that the tickets would be announced about six months in advance. The party has been caught in the same rigmarole as only 77 candidates out of 117 have been announced so far. The party campaign that had picked up lost all momentum in the absence of the leaders. APP, on the other hand, has been carrying on its campaign with full vigour despite the fact that the party lacks a state level leader. The party that seems to be losing after the split is assessed to have gained some of the lost space and this is what is worrying the Congress.
However, it is the BJP that could pose a real through and the damage by the saffron brigade to Congress could be enough to upset all the calculations. Even the Akali leadership has not assessed this potential of the Modi factor as the party is banking mainly upon the charisma of only Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The Congress worry is also reflected from the release of its 9-point programme today that otherwise seems to be part of its manifesto to be released possibly after the finalisation of candidates. Sources maintained that it has been discussed with former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh too and now final touches are being given.
The Congress is also going ahead with the campaign to get the forms filled from unemployed youth promising jobs. It is proposed to begin with unemployment allowance of Rs 2500 per month till the job is provided. This is on the lines of promising loan waiver to the farmers.