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PM dons a turban, Punjab goes to polls in Phase 7; what to expect?

Political analysts have often pointed out that perhaps the only two things that can be predicted about Punjab and its voters is the fact that the state has a penchant for voting out incumbent governments and never voting on sectarian lines.

News Arena Network - Chandigarh - UPDATED: May 16, 2024, 06:07 AM - 4 mins read

PM dons a turban, Punjab goes to polls in Phase 7; what to expect? 

PM dons a turban, Punjab goes to polls in Phase 7; what to expect?

PM Modi at Akal Takhat Sri Harimandir Ji Patna Sahib.


On an otherwise quiet Monday morning at Gurudwara Patna Sahib, PM Narendra Modi was photographed paying obeisance, stirring up a large iron pot in the community kitchen, followed by serving the langer in the langar hall. Like with all things political, Modi’s visit to the gurdwara too, received a few nods and raised a few eyebrows. 

 

Located in the state capital, Patna Sahib is one of the five takhts of the Sikhs. But Modi’s detractors were not ready to detach the timing of the visit from the visit. It’s poll season and all eyes now lead to Punjab, which goes to voting during the last phase of elections. 

 

In fact, many on social media platform X were quick to remind of Modi’s visit to Gurdwara  Rakabganj Sahib in New Delhi back in December of 2020. The PM visited the Sikh temple on the occasion of the 400th Prakash Parv of Guru Tegh Bahadur on a Sunday morning to mark a surprise visit sans any security inconvenience or restriction to the common worshipers.

 

 Back then again, the timing of the visit did not go unnoticed, nor was he extended any benefit of the doubt by trollers. “This morning, I prayed at the historic Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib where the pious body of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji was cremated. I felt extremely blessed. I, like millions around the world, am deeply inspired by the kindness of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji,”.

PM's visit and tweet came amidst intense protests by farmers against the three farm laws enacted by the government. Some also interpreted the visit against the backdrop of the upcoming Legislative elections in the state of Punjab, wherein later the Aam Aadmi Party garnered a sweeping majority by winning 92 out of the 117 seats, making Bhagwant Mann its incumbent Chief Minister. 



Punjab is unpredictable 

 

On the anvil are Lok Sabha polls and all 13 of the constituencies are a battle hardly predictable. Punjab is known to have never voted on sectarian lines, unlike many other states, parts and regions of India where caste, community and religion cards have worked. 

 

Even a fleeting look at the outcomes of the past elections makes it amply clear. The 2014 battle fought by the late Arun Jaitley and Captain Amarinder Singh is often cited as one of the many cases in point. While Arun Jaitley, a Hindu, received a thumbs-up from Sikh-dominated areas while representing the SAD-BJP alliance; Captain Amarinder Singh, a Sikh received the majority of the votes from Hindu-dominated areas. If at all, the state’s only communal party Shiromani Akali Dal came to power in 2004 under the late Parkash Singh Badal riding on the promises of free electricity and power rather than any religious sentiments. 

 

The state has a tendency to throw away incumbent governments 

 

Thereby the state also has a tendency to give a chance to every political outfit regardless of the ideology or colour. In 2012, if SAD was voted in, then it was voted out in 2017 in favour of Congress. In 2014, AAP made an entry with an encouraging 4 seats, along with SAD which also received 4 seats. While Congress could secure only 3 and the BJP 2. Five years later in 2019, INC won 8 seats while BJP and SAD 2 each and AAP only 1. 

 

Moving on, in 2022, while Congress’ incumbent CM Charanjit Singh Channi was shown to be a popular figure in the surveys, the state gave a resounding victory to AAP in the legislative elections. Thereby clearly signifying Punjab was open to new parties, and new leaders and ready to give chances to anyone handing out the hope of stability and development. 

 

As against the national trends in the past two general elections, the BJP has struggled to find any real footing in the state. Notably, this is the first time that AAP will be testing waters with Lok Sabha polls as an incumbent party. 

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