1. ‘AAP won’t be allowed to win in Punjab at any cost’

‘AAP won’t be allowed to win in Punjab at any cost’

Only a miracle can prevent the Aam Aadmi Party from finishing on top in the Punjab assembly election, irrespective of how many seats it ultimately bags. But miracles do happen.

By: | Updated: January 6, 2017 4:36 PM
The Punjab election is crucial for the AAP and its leader and magnet Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister. (Reuters) The Punjab election is crucial for the AAP and its leader and magnet Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister. (Reuters)

Only a miracle can prevent the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) from finishing on top in the Punjab assembly election, irrespective of how many seats it ultimately bags. But miracles do happen. For a party born only some four years ago, the AAP — India’s youngest political outfit — now exists in every nook and corner of the largely rural state. This itself is no mean achievement.

Even those not sympathetic to the AAP admit that Punjab will see a serious three-way contest for the first time — even if Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Baldal keeps joking that AAP will get no more than 10 seats.

The Punjab election is crucial for the AAP and its leader and magnet Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister.

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A possible loss will make many say that the sweeping Delhi victory in February 2015 was a fluke and perhaps an isolated urban phenomenon. But if the AAP takes over Punjab, it will mean much more.

A Punjab win will add to the AAP’s stature as a growing party, one capable of expanding its wings against great odds, evident by the way it has been boxed in by the central government in Delhi.

A Punjab victory would not only boost the AAP’s confidence in the other states it is eyeing but also increase its stake in a larger number of Lok Sabha seats in 2019.

Precisely for this reason, the Modi administration will want the AAP to lose Punjab — and badly. A Congress win will also be problematic but will be a lesser evil in the given circumstances.

Journalists from Delhi who visit Punjab are returning with more or less a unanimous view that an AAP defeat is very difficult if not impossible.

But many are also coming with an ominous message delivered off the record by BJP’s Punjab leaders: AAP won’t be allowed to win — at any cost.

On its part, the Congress keeps parroting that an aggressively anti-Modi Kejriwal — as AAP chief — is no good news for Punjab. The point doesn’t have too many takers, in part because of Kejriwal’s personal popularity.

So how can the AAP be tripped? Some signs are evident.

Already Kejriwal has become a persona non grata in many television channels — unless he can be shown in bad light. This could not have been possible without someone directing it all.

When Kejriwal hurls accusations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he gets virtually no publicity in the electronic media. But the same channels are generous if Rahul Gandhi makes the very same charges.

Recent developments in Delhi leading to the abrupt resignation of Lt Governor Najeeb Jung indicate that the Modi government may be planning to arrest one or two AAP ministers.

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This could happen ahead of February 4 — when Punjab votes along with Goa, the only other state where the AAP is contesting.

Irrespective of what finally happens to the arrested ministers, the corruption charges will be used to undermine the AAP’s appeal as an outfit different from the established parties.

The argument will be: if the AAP is no different, why not try known devil Congress if the Akalis are indeed bad?

By arresting AAP ministers, the Modi government will also attempt to cripple the movements outside Delhi of Kejriwal, who is a key — although not the party’s sole — vote catcher.

Can Kejriwal himself be arrested — on some spurious charge?

Some months back Sukhbir Badal said he had forwarded to the Union Home Ministry “evidence” that the AAP had links with Khalistani terrorists and that Khalistanis were backing the AAP.

When I wrote in July 2015 (just five months after Kejriwal took office) that an opinion in Delhi favoured toppling the Kejriwal government, most people thought it was preposterous.

But if this happens now, not many will be surprised. Keep your fingers crossed till Punjab and Goa vote.

  1. O
    Onkar Singh
    Jan 6, 2017 at 1:57 pm
    It's true that AAP has established a base in rural areas of Punjab,Akalis- BJP combine is not liked by the majority public,so AAP is definitely in the lead.Bhakts will not like this news.And demonetization too can't be written of either.A strange situation,even after 50 days you can't withdraw your own money.What justification can Modi give? Nothing is going to work.A Tughlaki knows his fate!!!!
    Reply
    1. A
      Amolakh Nath
      Jan 5, 2017 at 4:59 pm
      Who is the who has written it even his name is not given and I wonder why is that why is he scared and what is the paper playing T
      Reply
      1. The Editor
        Feb 2, 2017 at 8:36 pm
        This seems to be a pro-AAP article. Am surprised how Financial Express has allowed this to be published. AAP is losing Punjab and Goa, both.
        Reply
        1. J
          Jai
          Jan 5, 2017 at 5:01 pm
          I travel all parts of punjab,, rural and urban. AAP is a hype created by Kejriwal himself, Factually it will be at third spot,, watch for it This article too looks paid and a part of the same hype
          Reply
          1. R
            Rs
            Jan 6, 2017 at 8:34 am
            Bl..y paid news article. Shame on such media
            Reply
            1. B
              Baljit singh
              Jan 5, 2017 at 6:05 pm
              If one refuses to believe that aap is going to sweep Punjab, one is either a pigeon who shuts his eyes on seeing a cat or an Akali BJP or Congress wallah living in his paradise.
              Reply
              1. R
                Rdabludba
                Jan 6, 2017 at 10:58 am
                Any sabotage on AAP interest including arrest of leaders or AK by ruling gangs, would boomerang on themselves. Punjabis will vote with vengeance for AAP. They are so furious the crowds'll lynch anyone trying to rig the votes. Badals' exploitation & spread of addiction coupled with demonetization by Modiji are adding fuel to the fire. 84 riots by Congress are unforgettable petrol over dying congress corpse. BJP CONGRESS must forget Punjab.
                Reply
                1. A
                  Akash Uchani
                  Jan 5, 2017 at 11:20 am
                  Aap(common man) is going to win punjab and goa. I can bet on it. They are in each and every corner of Goa and Punjab.
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    ANIL
                    Jan 5, 2017 at 2:37 pm
                    IF AAP COULD MAKE IT IN PUNJAB AND GOA THEN WE CAN SEE TRIANGULAR FIGHT TO UPCOMING ELECTION IN GUJRAT,RAJASTHAN AND MP
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      Anuj
                      Jan 5, 2017 at 4:18 pm
                      when you write such a biased article sympathizing AAP.......basically you are making Bhakts even stronger bhakts :D
                      Reply
                      1. B
                        Bharatiya
                        Jan 6, 2017 at 12:11 am
                        #bhakt rattled?
                        Reply
                        1. B
                          Bharatiya
                          Jan 6, 2017 at 12:11 am
                          and some people can't see irony / sarcasm from a million miles...! ;)
                          Reply
                          1. Binoy Hoskote
                            Jan 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm
                            IF PM MODI & BJP ARE STILL FOOLS AFTER BEING THRASHED IN DELHI BY PEOPLE LEAVING THEM WITH 3 SEAT-LANGOT...THEN THEY CAN BARK & BRAY LIKE DOGS AND DONKEYS AS MUCH AS THEY LIKE....SHOWS HOW BANKRUPT PM MODI & MODI GOVT HAVE BECOME...THAT THEY WIL;L SOON LAND UP IN THE HOSPITAL FOR ELECTRO-THERAPHY FOR SHORTCIRCUITED BRAIN REVIVAL.....AS THEY ARE BEGINNOING TO TALK THE LANGUAGE OF LUNATIC YLUM......
                            Reply
                            1. C
                              cddeshpanfe
                              Jan 6, 2017 at 5:06 am
                              Good article
                              Reply
                              1. C
                                chan
                                Jan 5, 2017 at 7:25 pm
                                there will a river of blood of BJP leaders if they conduct fraud in the Punjab elections. Like IG Modi and Shah can also be dealt with.
                                Reply
                                1. H
                                  Harry Who
                                  Jan 6, 2017 at 2:02 am
                                  What a biased article. People of Punjab have heard Khujliwala goof up about Sikhism. They are smart people and most would have travelled to Delhi and seen personally that Khujliwal is all talk and no work. Add to it Mann making a fool of himself and jeopardising parliament security.. The blogger has paid to publish this article but does not have guts to publish his name. I am not a BJP, SAD or Congi supporter but can see bias in this article. Also all the usual AAPs comments prove that it is a paid blog. Financial express should be ashamed to fool some gullible public by not publishing the name of the blogger.
                                  Reply
                                  1. S
                                    suresh devaki
                                    Jan 6, 2017 at 5:02 am
                                    To defeat AAP opposition won't leave any thing. They can go to any extant.
                                    Reply
                                    1. D
                                      Dinesh Singh
                                      Jan 5, 2017 at 7:15 pm
                                      Punjabis should be careful of this. No matter what they must vote for AAP to deliver a crucial blow to corrupt and scheming BJP.
                                      Reply
                                      1. D
                                        Dipankar
                                        Mar 16, 2017 at 7:50 am
                                        Looks like an article written by Kejriwal or one of his poodles.
                                        Reply
                                        1. Dilpreet Saini
                                          Jan 8, 2017 at 3:20 am
                                          we still hope
                                          Reply
                                          1. Dr. Vishal
                                            Jan 5, 2017 at 4:49 pm
                                            Irrelevant article not creditworthy. Just stupid.
                                            Reply
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