The thumping victory of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi has come as a much-needed morale booster for its Punjab unit ahead of 2022 assembly elections. But the latest dose will lose its steam if senior leaders of the party failed to put their house in order at the earliest.
After New Delhi, Punjab is the only state, where voters have supported the AAP since its launch. Making its debut during 2014 parliament elections, AAP candidates defeated the candidates of old parties on four seats of Punjab. Apart from parliament, the party further increased its base in 2017 assembly elections and it became main opposition party of Punjab and state saw first opposition without the support of mainstream parties.
Though problem in Punjab AAP started immediately after 2014 parliament elections as it failed to retain its all four MPs with it, but presently party is in total disarray as repeated crushing defeats in parliament, as presently it has only one MP Bhagwant Mann, assembly and other elections, has disappointed its leaders and voters. Apart from leaders and voters, its MLAs are also not united and presently they are divided into many groups while some have formally rebelled against their party.
There are allegations against party lone MP Bhagwant Mann that he does not allow anyone to rise in the party. Though Punjab assembly elections are in 2022, but the social media posts of Mann points towards his ambition for CM post, causing more heartburn among disgruntled leaders of the party.
But even after disappointing state residents repeatedly, AAP still has bright chances. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has been facing a revolt from its most senior leaders like Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and his son, former minister and present MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa. The proximity of Dhindsas with senior BJP leaders is an open secret and things are likely to take a worse turn between SAD and Dhindsas in coming days because later are insisting for SGPC elections to free it from the clutches of Badals.
Apart from SAD, congress leaders are facing the ire of state residents for their failure to fulfil their promises like Ghar Ghar Naukari, end of drugs, the release of financial benefits under various social welfare schemes and others.
But AAP needs to tread cautiously to prevent the repeat of 2017 when it failed to form government in Punjab despite having massive support. Before launching its campaign in Punjab, AAP leadership must fix the responsibility of its every leader of Punjab and clarify things to prevent more confusion to present a third alternative to state residents.