With former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announcing that he is set to float his own party and declaring that he is open to an alliance with the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), the 2022 Assembly election in the state is likely to see new political dynamics. Meanwhile, BJP’s age-old ally Shiromani Akali Dal has found a new partner this time. Aam Aadmi Party, which managed to win just 20 seats in the past elections, is striving hard to become a major player in the state.
With these changing dynamics at play, here is a look at the major political players in Punjab.
History: Formally launched on 26 November 2012, the Aam Aadmi Party made forays into Punjab politics in 2016 after trouncing the largest national players at that time — Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress — in Delhi Assembly Elections.
In its electoral debut, the Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the second-largest party in the Delhi Legislative Assembly polls of 2013. It formed the government for 49 days with 28 of the 70 seats in the Assembly with support from the Congress party. Its main agenda was to quickly introduce the Jan Lokpal bill in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. When this didn’t come to fruition, the AAP government resigned.null
In the 2015 Delhi Assembly polls, it emerged victorious with a record margin. It won 67 of 70 seats, while the rest three went to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Past Election Performance: In the 2014 General Elections, the party fielded 434 candidates but won a meagre four seats from Punjab. This, however, allowed AAP to become a recognised state party in Punjab, paving the way for it to contest in the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls. However, the party that was predicted to give the Congress a close contest, did not fare as well as expected and won 20 seatsnull
Alliance: In all likelihood, the AAP will be facing the polls alone. The party has not commented on the possibility of a post-poll alliance so far as well.
Election Agenda: This time around, AAP’s election strategy revolves around the three controversial farm laws by the Centre. AAP enjoys the unique position of not having any contact with this political hot potato. Congress’ previous chief minister Amarinder Singh, dubbed ‘black laws’ architect’ by his bete noire Navjot Singh Sidhu, was the one who passed very similar laws in the state Assembly. Whereas Akali Dal had initially supported the bills as an NDA ally but walked out of the government later when farmers around the country rallied behind the issue. BJP, which is anyway a small player in the state, is the one who brought the controversial laws at the Centre. AAP on the other hand did not take a position until opposing it was the safest choice left.