[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The three-cornered battle in the upcoming assembly polls is heading for an exciting finish as new entrant AAP is emerging as the dark horse amid strong anti-incumbency sentiments and Congress’ poor track record
By Sujit Bhar[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Punjab election nominations saw a surge on the last day (January 18) when 1,040 candidates submitted their papers, bringing the total to 1,041. Elections to 117 assembly constituencies in this state are scheduled for February 4.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Among those filing on the last day were cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who just joined the Congress, his party’s chief in the state, Amarinder Singh, and Bhagwant Mann of the Aam Admi Party (AAP). Sidhu will fight for the Amritsar East seat, Amarinder for the Lambi seat (where his opponent will be Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal) and Mann will fight in Jalalabad.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The Punjab elections were supposed to be a little different this year, with not only a shift from the typical Congress versus the BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) combine tussle being extended to a three-corner one with the advent of AAP. It was also supposed to be a fight for development and modernism against the entrenched traditions of religious sentiments that have in the recent past taken the state down perilous paths.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The introduction of AAP sees a definitive move by its chief Arvind Kejriwal to possess a real seat of power, instead of the truncated system he heads in Delhi. In the process, he has chosen a point where anti-incumbency could have become a huge factor. The BJP-SAD combine has survived the last elections, retaining power, but their administration has been embroiled in a multitude of controversies, including that of the spread of drugs use, and religious one-upmanship.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Amarinder’s comment that chief minister Badal had initiated a bloody war between Sikh religious leaders and that this was Badal’s plan for “controlled destabilisation” in the state, could, in fact, help the AAP, which is coming in with no baggage at all. If anything, AAP is coming in with an established reputation of having stumped the powerful BJP in Delhi, despite everybody, from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to BJP president Amit Shah throwing their weights behind the BJP campaign.
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]To this end the AAP is venturing out into a new field, something that people associated the BJP with at the last Lok Sabha elections.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]On January 19 about a hundred AAP supporters arrived in Delhi from Canada – all NRIs – and were to leave for Punjab, where they would drum up support for Kejriwal and the AAP. The message is clear: development and the painting of a rosy future under AAP. It was a timely move, with Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia receiving them at the airport in the morning, a day after the CBI initiated a probe against him for graft.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]It is not that these 100 NRIs would be able to turn local sentiments in Punjab on its head, but the youth see this as a huge positive. Emotions in Punjab have always swung between the Congress and the BJP-SAD combine for a good reason. The people of Punjab recognise these people, and they have had the touch and feel of a known devil, against AAP, an unknown identity. But the new element in publicity would be interesting.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Also, while the AAP might not really be holding high hopes for a victory, it would be useful for the other two combines to study how the AAP draws out their vote banks and who could lose as a result. AAP volunteers have been visiting lakhs of homes, even in rural Punjab for a long time now and fresh faces and fresh promises always have an appeal with the youth. They declared their candidates’ list way ahead of the others, and people have had time to look into each and every one of them.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The youth of Punjab sees AAP as a symbol of hope amid chaos and despair. Hitesh Sofat, from Patiala, now working for a private organisation in Noida, has high hopes for AAP in Punjab. “I think the AAP would win this time,” he told APN. “I come from Patiala, where the sporting atmosphere is great (the National Institute of Sports is headquartered there), and people are sports minded. I have seen how the BJP-SAD combine has dragged the youth of the state into drugs and how Bikram Majithia, minister in the Badal cabinet has been hand in glove with the process.”[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Sofat is a technical person, and he sees the future with hope. “I do think that the promoters of a drugged world will be put behind bars, and the AAP has the ability and vision to do that,” he says. “Plus, the AAP is right about procuring the money from the state itself for development projects. We do not need the courtesy of the centre for our projects in the Punjab. Just as he did it in Delhi, he will be able to do it in the Punjab.”[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Such optimism should reflect, to an extent, in the ballot boxes, though people with entrenched positions would be loathe to let that happen. And for Kejriwal, Punjab is still a long way off. It would be great if he can form a credible opposition.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The presence of the AAP could see a lot more happening in the social fabric of the state: more involvement of women in the political process, for example. The state, which has one of the lowest male to female ratios in the country, should have hit out with more participation of women in the polling process. But this time the number of women filing nominations has fallen sharply. From 93 in the 2012 polls, the number has fallen to just 27, fielded by the four parties in fray.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Ramesh Bidhuri remarks row: BSP MP Danish Ali writes to PM Modi, calls for suitable punishment
Danish Ali asked PM Modi to make a public statement from his office condemning Bidhuri’s behaviour and reaffirming commitment towards maintaining the highest standards of parliamentary proceedings.
BSP MP Danish Ali who was targeted with derogatory remarks by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri in Lok Sabha, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday seeking suitable punishment for Bidhuri. In the letter, the BSP MP also demanded enhanced security for himself.
He mentioned that the recent incident in the Lok Sabha during the special session of the Parliament was not just an attack on him as an individual but an attack on the very essence of democracy. Expressing grave concern over the incident, Danish Ali called on the Prime Minister as the Leader of the House and asked him to take note of the incident.
The BSP leader underlined that the situation has significantly worsened in the Parliament since September 21 and that it has cast a shadow over the parliamentary decorum and democratic functioning of the esteemed House of which he is privileged to be a member.
Acknowledging that PM Narendra Modi was not present during the incident, BSP MP claimed that Bidhuri used inappropriate language while referring to the Prime Minister during his address. He mentioned that he raised an objection to the use of such language in relation to the Prime Minister even if it was in a quotation.
Danish Ali further added that it was evident from the House proceedings that none of the members of the ruling party objected to his stance against the use of unparliamentary language directed to the Prime Minister. He elaborated that when he pointed out to Bidhuri’s use of unparliamentary language towards the Prime Minister, the BJP MP got rattled and reacted strongly, possibly realising his mistake.
In the letter, Ali also mentioned some of the objectionable and derogatory words that Bidhuri has used against him. In addition, Ali also said that members like BJP MP Nishikant Dubey have gone as far as to disseminate absolute falsehoods against him by claiming that he made certain remarks which provoked Bidhuri when it is clear that those remarks were made by the BJP lawmaker himself during his address.
BSP MP Danish Ali also made a series of demands to PM Modi through his letter. He asked the Prime Minister to make a public statement from his office condemning such behaviour and reaffirming the commitment towards maintaining the highest standards of parliamentary proceedings. Furthermore, he also demanded accountability to be fixed at the earliest on the reprehensible conduct of Bidhuri and called for suitable punishment.
Amid AAP-Congress row in Punjab, Arvind Kejriwal says his party is committed to INDIA bloc
Congress Punjab unit accused the AAP government in the state of indulging in political vendetta
Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Friday affirmed that his party is committed to supporting the INDIA Opposition bloc. He stated that his party will not part ways with the INDIA alliance. Kejriwal’s statement follows amidst a standoff between Aam Aadmi party and Congress in Punjab.
The rift between both the political parties erupted after the arrest of Punjab Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Thursday. The Punjab Congress leader was arrested from his Sector 5 house in Chandigarh in connection with a 2015 drugs case.
Apparently referring to the fall out, Arvind Kejriwal mentioned that the AAP is committed to the INDIA alliance and that they will not break away from the alliance. He added that they are committed to fulfilling the dharma of the alliance.
Meanwhile, Congress Punjab unit accused the AAP government in the state of indulging in political vendetta after the arrest of their leader. However, the AAP in Punjab has denied the allegation, mentioning that the action against the Bholath legislator was taken according to the law.
On being asked about no announcement on the seat sharing formula in the INDIA alliance, Arvind Kejriwal remarked that he hopes that it would be ready soon. Speaking about the opposition INDIA alliance not projecting a prime ministerial candidate yet, Arvind Kejriwal said that his aim is to empower every citizen and create a system where all 1.4 billion people of this country feel like they are the prime minister. He added that they need to empower the people and they don’t need to empower any one individual.
On being questioned about the drug menace, Arvind Kejriwal noted that yesterday he heard that the Punjab Police arrested a particular leader, Sukhpal Singh Khaira in connection with drugs but he doesn’t have the details regarding the matter. Nonetheless, he mentioned that the Bhagwant Mann government and the AAP government are committed to ending the drug menace and that nobody will be spared.
AIADMK leader KP Munusamy says party will form new alliance after ending ties with BJP
KP Munusamy, a senior leader of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) said, the party will form a separate alliance for the upcoming elections.
KP Munusamy, a senior leader of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) said, the party will form a separate alliance for the upcoming elections. The Palaniswami’s party ended its tie with the BJP and withdrew its coalition with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) three days earlier.
According to reports, KP Munusamy further said that the party has not asked to remove K Annamalai, the BJP state president.
Speaking on the removal of the BJP party’s state president, Munusamy said that it is childish to even ask if such a large party like AIADMK would demand anything like that. The party will never commit a mistake like that, he added.
He further clarified that his party’s leaders are not someone who would tell another party how it should function.
Speaking on the relationship with NDA and joining the alliance in future, Munusamy said Stalin and his son Udhayanidhi are claiming that this is a drama.
Stalin and his son Udhayanidhi are only speaking in such a manner because they have a fear after we broke ties with BJP, the AIADMK leader said.
The AIADMK on September 25, announced that it is breaking the alliance with the BJP, ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The AIADMK unanimously passed a party resolution in this regard.
Announcing the decision, AIADMK deputy coordinator K P Munusamy said the BJP state leadership has been continuously making unnecessary remarks about their former leaders, their general secretary Edapaddi Palaniswami and their cadres for the past one year.
The decision to part ways follows months of speculation over the strained relationship between the AIADMK and the BJP. Notably, Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai had repeatedly commented against AIADMK leaders and that did not earn him any wrath as the BJP was seemingly fine with Annamalai’s assault on the AIADMK leadership.
Even though the AIADMK’s relationship with Annamalai had not been smooth for more than a year, the latter’s observations on DMK founder CN Annadurai, the AIADMK is a breakaway from the DMK and founded by MG Ramachandran after Annadurai’s death, for the last couple of weeks, had provoked the latest round of spat between the two parties.