Weak Congress, Stronger BJP: Saffron hues thicken in Punjab

With leaders deserting the Congress, BJP sees itself gaining strength in the Punjab scene

Is Punjab turning out to be an arena of embarrassment for the Indian National Congress? Developments that unfolded a tad prior to and soon after the recently-concluded Assembly elections in the state seem to point to such a situation. The grand old party had been relegated to licking its wounds soon after it was handed out a shameful defeat by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The shameless infighting episodes and the scenes created by then state party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu had come as major factors that led to the Congress’ defeat in Punjab. Post-election defeat, many a leader had switched allegiance to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The party-switching by   senior leaders including former ministers, MLAs, and senior office bearers, has left the Congress in a fix and resigned to fate.

On the other side however, it has been gains galore for the BJP. Starting with senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar, there has been a steady flow of Congress leaders into the BJP. Among the many who quit the party to join the BJP, there are prominent names such as popular Dalit leader of the Congress, Raj Kumar Verka.

Congress leaders switch over to BJP

Other senior leaders like Balbir Singh Sidhu, Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Sunder Sham Arora, and former Congress MLA from Barnala Kewal Singh Dhillon also joined the saffron outfit recently. Kewal Singh Dhillon was also fortunate enough to have been picked as BJP candidate for the Sangrur parliamentary by-elections.

The defeat in the Assembly polls in Punjab has come about as major blow for the Congress party. It is not just the state the party lost. Leaders who commanded much popularity among the common man also left, making the party’s road forward a tough proposition.

What many fail to fathom is how the party has been allowing the downward trend to go on for itself. The Congress has been trying to revamp its operations by picking new leaders to drive the party. However, that doesn’t seem to be working in its favour.

kewal singh bjp

Expansion phase for BJP in Punjab

For the BJP, its expansion time in Punjab. Notwithstanding the fact that the AAP as made inroads into the state, the saffron party is trying all it can to make itself a formidable force. With the Central cabinet strong enough to push for yet another term, the party wants to bolster its strength in states like Punjab. The fact is that it hasn’t had to work overtime to make things happen as it wanted. The Congress has been gifting strength to the BJP by making its leaders switch over.  

Will the Congress stand a chance in the coming years, is a question that would wish for answers! The current scenario is pale and it is likely to continue so. The grand old party would need some deft handling of affairs within itself. Else, it would be weakened buy more switch overs by more leaders from its fold.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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