Follow Us:



Now or never for AAP, Congress

Ranjeet Jamwal | Chandigarh |


The outcome of Assembly elections in Punjab on Saturday will largely decide the future of the two main contenders – Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) — in the state politics as the loser would be forced to cease the 'opposition space' to the winner.

While the AAP's victory will mark the beginning of its new journey outside Delhi, Congress' victory will help the national party in putting down brakes on the slide it has suffered all over the country ever since 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

 Losing the elections, while the AAP's surge outside Delhi will come to a halt, Congress may not survive the fall as the party is already out of power for a decade now.

As the Exit Polls and intelligence reports have given equal chances to both the parties, Congress and AAP have their fingers crossed ahead of the counting of votes on Saturday.

While the AAP expects to get a majority on the basis of its performance in Malwa region which comprises 69 of total 117 seats, the Congress is hoping to do well  all three regions including Doaba and Majha.

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP-SAD) on the other hand are hoping against hope to put off a good show on the basis of their cadre votes and division in opposition votes.

It's specially a prestige issue for the Akalis as the Opposition parties put strong candidates against key SAD leaders including chief minister (CM) Parkash Singh Badal (Lambi), deputy CM Sukhbir Badal (Jalalabad) and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia (Majithia).

All eyes will therefore be on these three constituencies as loss in any of these will be humiliating for the Akalis. While the SAD president Sukhbir is facing AAP leader Bhagwant Mann in Jalalabad, CM Badal is facing Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh and AAP's Jarnail Singh in Lambi. In Majithia (Amritsar), Sukhbir's brother-in-law Bikram Majithia is up against AAP's Himmat Singh Shergill and Congress' Lalli Majithia.

Another interesting battle in Punjab remains between Capt Amarinder and General (retired) JJ Singh in Patiala (urban). Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu is also in the contest from Amritsar (east), earlier represented by his wife on BJP ticket, on the Congress ticket.

The BJP may be in a winning position in Uttar Pardesh, Goa, Uttrakhand and Manipur where results will also be declared tomorrow, but the saffron party's battle in Punjab is all about saving its face on 23 seats it contested in alliance with the SAD.