Women and youths found hope in the party’s agenda for Punjab while farmers believed the AAP had answers to the questions that led to the year-long unrest
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), under the leadership of Bhagwant Mann, appears poised to form the next Punjab government, pushing aside the traditional parties – the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) – for the first time.
The party led by Arvind Kejriwal leads in 90 out of 117 seats with the Congress a distant second at 17, according to the latest information provided by the Election Commission of India.
There are several reasons why the people of Punjab decided to give AAP a chance this time around.
Mainly, voters were looking for a change, showing their disappointment with Congress, Akali Dal as well as the BJP. Although Captain Amarinder Singh left Congress just before the election to join the BJP, he had done his parent party a disservice by slowing investigations into corruption charges against the Badals during his last term as chief minister. This did not go down well with voters, who felt cheated by the old Congressional regime.
Young voters wholeheartedly supported Arvind Kejriwal’s model of change. The Delhi CM’s emphasis on education, healthcare and basic amenities like cheap electricity and water has resonated with voters in Punjab, who are reeling from charges of high electricity. Kejriwal promised to rid the state of corruption and create more jobs. The youths as well as women decided to give him a chance and prove his “Delhi model of governance” in Punjab.
Moreover, women were lured into the PAA after Kejriwal promised to deposit a sum of Rs 1,000 per month into every woman’s account in the state. While voters are smart enough to realize that such promises are easy to break, what really drew women to the party was the respect they got as a separate bank of votes, instead of be seen as a natural extension of a family generally headed by men.
While Arvind Kejriwal has always been popular in Punjab, as evidenced by the AAP’s strong entry into the state in the last assembly election (20 seats), it is Bhagwant Mann, the former comedian and the party’s chief ministerial candidate this time, who captured people’s hearts and minds. His political and social satires, his clean image and his impressive speeches greatly helped the AAP to reach a large number of voters. Mann won’t forget to remind voters of his humble past and the decline in his net worth with each successive election.
Read also : Election Astrology Reading on Punjab’s Low Voter Turnout
Farmer agitation against three Central Farm Bills, which are now being repealed, was the trigger that united an overwhelming number of farmers against the Center, but did Congress and Akalis no good either. The year-long protest laid the groundwork for a new government by smashing the ‘dharra’ (faction) system that had decided election results earlier.
Farmers asked questions of their leaders in Punjab and Central, but the AAP seems to have had the answers, which earned them the trust of farmers.