Of the 5 states going to the polls early subsequent yr, the Congress has its finest possibilities in Punjab — others are Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. Here, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has managed to seize political initiative by realising ahead of others that the farmers have been in for an extended battle over the brand new farm legal guidelines.
The Opposition in Punjab comprising the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was divided. The AAP is dealing with inner strife. The SAD has seemed listless after a delayed determination to stop the Narendra Modi authorities over the farm payments. And, the BJP has by no means obtained sufficient floor help in Punjab.
Captain Amarinder Singh had gained the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls regardless of first surgical strike by the Modi authorities a couple of months in the past, a united SAD-BJP coalition and a rising AAP. This is the story of the Congress.
The occasion is extra doubtless to win an election in states the place it has robust regional leaders: Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan and Bhupesh Baghel in Chhattisgarh. A divided Madhya Pradesh Congress noticed the occasion lose energy regardless of profitable the election.
In pre-2016 Assam, Tarun Gogoi gained three consecutive meeting elections for the Congress. In 2011 Assam Assembly election, a joke was circulating among the many political circles within the state that Tarun Gogoi needed the occasion excessive command to avoid the polls in order that he might be assured of profitable energy.
Captain Amarinder Singh faces the same state of affairs in Punjab the place he have to be praying that the occasion excessive command allowed him to focus all his vitality on profitable the meeting polls due in eight months. He has battled infighting largely sustaining his sway prior to now nearly four-and-a-half years.
WHO IS THE CAPTAIN?
Dissidence has revived within the Punjab Congress with resurgent Navjot Singh Sidhu main the cost in opposition to Captain Amarinder Singh. Navjot Sidhu had stop the Amarinder authorities in 2019 over political variations, which some say was an ego-tussle.
Reports say that Navjot Sidhu eyes the position of Punjab Congress chief for the subsequent yr’s meeting polls. It would set the stage for one other spherical of clashes between Navjot Sidhu and Captain Amarinder Singh — each are Jat Sikh.
The serving chief minister was summoned final week to New Delhi to seem earlier than a Congress committee to defend his type of functioning and the insurance policies of the federal government. Among different issues, Captain Amarinder Singh is believed to have instructed the Congress panel that its Punjab unit shouldn’t be headed by a Jat Sikh because the state authorities is being run by one.
SUMMON OR HUMILIATION?
Captain Amarinder Singh defended his case earlier than a committee which was shaped by occasion president Sonia Gandhi and comprised Mallikarjun Kharge (Karnataka), Harish Rawat (Uttarakhand) and JP Aggarwal (Delhi). Incidentally, none of Congress committee members loved the political muscle of their respective states as Captain Amarinder Singh does in Punjab.
Another distinction was that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra reportedly had a separate dialogue with the Congress committee members by video-conferencing.
This displays eroding lack of confidence of the Congress excessive command in Captain Amarinder Singh — a pal of Rajiv Gandhi and household loyalist because the assassination of the previous prime minister — is that he was not requested to seem earlier than Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and even Priyanka Gandhi. Captain Amarinder Singh was not given the privilege of digital look earlier than the committee not like interplay between the Gandhis and the panel.
WHY PUNJAB MATTERS FOR CONGRESS
While the BJP seems shell-shocked following its defeat in West Bengal regardless of improved performances in all meeting polls held throughout April-May, the Congress suffered nearly a rout even in Kerala, from the place Rahul Gandhi is a Lok Sabha MP. This makes retaining Punjab a vital political query for the Congress.
The Congress misplaced meeting polls in neighbouring Haryana in 2019 and lots of old-timers blamed it on the Congress excessive command’s determination to ignore veteran Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was thought-about “too old” and “too independent” to declare him the chief ministerial face. Hooda remains to be believed to be the most well-liked Congress chief in Haryana.
Captain Amarinder Singh too has advancing age in opposition to him. He will flip 80 when Punjab can be holding meeting election in 2022. The Congress wants to discover his alternative in Punjab.
However, as issues stand for the Congress in Punjab at the moment, the occasion doesn’t appear to be ready to win an electoral match with a subdued Captain enjoying underneath the shadow of a former cricketer. So, is the Congress making it difficult for Captain Amarinder Singh to win Punjab Assembly election 2022?