Despite all the efforts, the challenges of the Congress in Punjab are not taking the name of diminishing. The party is hoping to win the elections once again, thanks to the farmers’ movement and the first Dalit chief minister. But Captain Amarinder Singh has increased the difficulties by giving indications of forming a new party and alliance with the BJP. Because, in such a situation a quadrangular struggle is certain in Punjab.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is continuously strengthening itself in Punjab. Akali Dal is also opening a front against the government. In such a situation, if the BJP enters the electoral fray in alliance with Amarinder Singh’s new party, there will not be much room left for the Congress. Because, in the last election, the party was voted largely by Hindu voters along with Sikh voters.
The upper caste Hindu voters have been voting for the BJP-Akali alliance. But in the last election, the Hindu voters gave preference to the Congress over the Aam Aadmi Party. The nationalist image of the Captain also played a big role in this. In such a situation, if the BJP gets the support of the Captain, then the Hindu voters can get away from the Congress. There are around 39 per cent Hindu voters in Punjab.
Hindu majority in 45 urban seats
If Hindu voters lean towards a possible BJP-captain alliance, it will inflict heavy losses on the Congress in urban areas. Because, 45 urban seats are Hindu majority or decide victory or defeat. At the same time, there is a contest between Congress, AAP and Akali Dal for the votes of the upper caste Sikh voters. In such a situation, the role of Dalit Sikh voters in the election will become important. A senior state Congress leader said that Navjot Singh Sidhu’s image is not very good among Hindu voters. Captain has been continuously calling Sidhu a pro-Pakistan. Because of this also Hindu voters may turn away from the Congress. The Congress wants to make up this loss with the Dalit Sikh vote, but how successful it will be in this goal, it will decide the election result.
Captain has already made party
This is not the first time that the Captain broke away from the Congress and formed a separate party. In 1984, he left the Congress and joined the Akali Dal in protest against the attack on the Golden Temple. But in 1992, he left the Akali Dal and formed his new party Akali Dal (Panthik). Later in 1997, the party merged with the Congress. After this, Captain remained in Congress. However, before the 2017 elections, he had threatened to leave the party even if he was not given a free hand.
Likely to go with many MLAs too
Punjab Congress may break if Captain Amarinder Singh announces to form his new party. A senior party leader admitted that several MLAs are close to Capt. In such a situation, they can change sides near the election. The number of such MLAs is about a dozen. Congress had its best performance in 2017 after terrorism.