State of the States

#Advantage Congress in Punjab

#Advantage Congress in Punjab

There is turmoil in two leading regional political parties of the adjoining states of Punjab and Haryana. In Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal, which till the other day was in power in the state, is facing a rebellion by influential elements. In neighboring Haryana, there is a feud in the Chautala family which leads the Indian National Lok Dal, the main opposition force in the state.

Crises facing #Akali Dal

After the Akali Dal lost power in the Assembly elections in Punjab, it has been facing a succession of crises. The party had fared very badly in the Assembly elections. From the ruling party, it had been pushed to third place after the Congress, which emerged victorious, and the Aam Admi Party. The troubles of the party mounted after that with important leaders raising their voice against party supremo #Parkash Singh Badal and his son and party president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The problems came to a head this month with the party deciding to expel one of its Members of Parliament #Ranjit Singh Brahmpura from the party for anti- party activities. A former M. P. Ratan Singh Ajnala and the rebel leaders’ sons, both former MLAs, were also expelled from the Akali Dal for six years.

This is not the end of the troubles for the Akali Dal. Another M. P. of the party, Sher Singh Ghubaya has also raised the banner of revolt against the Badal family. He is reported to be cosying upto the ruling Congress in the state. His son is a Congress MLA. A former Minister, Sewa Singh Sakhwan was expelled from the party earlier.

The leaders expelled from the party had been criticising the Badal family and holding the party leadership responsible for the sacrilege of religious books which happened during the party rule in 2015 and the pardon granted by the SGPC to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. They had accused Sukhbir Singh Badal and his brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia, a former Minister, of what they called destroying the party image.

Brahmpura had resigned earlier as the Senior Vice President of the Akali Dal.

#Vertical divide in AAP

The state of affairs in the Aam Admi Party unit in Punjab is no better. Rebel leaders Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Kanwar Sandhu have been suspended from the party for anti-party activities. The action came after the National Convener of the Aam Admi Party and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that action will be taken against dissident leaders at the right time. Reacting to his suspension, Khaira described the move as dictatorial and said that the dissidents will set up a new front in the state. Reports say that Khaira and other dissidents have the support of almost one half of the twenty party MLAs in Punjab.

With Lok Sabha elections just about six months away, it is advantage Congress in Punjab. The two major opposition forces in the state, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Admi Party are almost vertically split and would hardly be able to pose any worthwhile challenge to the ruling party in the state. The BJP, which is alliance with the Akali Dal, will also consequently be a loser in the power play in Punjab.

As of now, the chances of the Akali Dal and the Aam Admi Party regrouping to overcome the dissidence problems they face look remote.

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