With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) retaining power in Delhi with a thumping majority, it would revive the party’s hopes of regaining the lost ground in Punjab, the only state after the national Capital where AAP has tasted electoral success.
The AAP leaders in Punjab including Leader of Opposition, Harpal Singh Cheema, said the unprecedented victory of the party had sent out a message loud and clear across the country that the elected governments would have to work harder to bettering education, health care, cheaper electricity, safety and security of women.
The AAP leaders, who were gung ho over the historic triumph of the AAP in Delhi, said the Punjab Unit of the party would replicate the Delhi model in Punjab in the 2022 Assembly election.
Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar on Monday said Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could get a ‘second chance’ in Punjab post-Delhi assembly elections, but it would not be able to capitalise on it as its house was not in order in the state.
Unlike the rest of the country, after its success in Delhi, the AAP gained much popularity in the state and managed to win four Lok Sabha seats in 2014 polls. While the party was also in a good position ahead of 2017 Assembly polls in the state, dissensions and desertions in AAP helped the Amarinder Singh-led Congress win a majority.
Still, the AAP became the second-largest party in Punjab with 19 MLAs, pushing the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) combine to the third position. Though the AAP is no longer a threat to the ruling Congress or the SAD-BJP, the party remains a hope for the voters looking for the third alternative.
“The Congress and SAD-BJP governments in Punjab have not been any different. Everything remains the same for us. We will be happy if Delhi like work was done in Punjab,” said an elderly Avtaar Singh in Mohali reacting to the AAP victory in Delhi.
Another youngster, who runs a food stall said AAP government like policies were required in Punjab for better future. “Otherwise, no party (Congress or SAD-BJP) is doing anything for us,” he said.
By raising the public issues like high power tariffs, unemployment and corruption, the AAP is trying to regain the lost ground but much needs to be done to revive the party organization in the state which has been hit hard by large scale defections.
Under two-time Member of Parliament, Bhagwant Mann’s leadership, the AAP can just hope to put its house in order and revive its political fortune in Punjab post the AAP victory in Delhi.