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Election Results 2022 | Punjab gives AAP multi bagger returns, also poses challenges

Election Results 2022 | Punjab gives AAP multi-bagger returns, also poses challenges

Election Results 2022 | Punjab gives AAP multi-bagger returns, also poses challenges
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By Moneycontrol News Mar 11, 2022 2:49:05 PM IST (Updated)

Infighting in the Congress contributed to the party’s defeat in Punjab, but that should not take away from AAP’s message of change and hope that inspired the electorate.

Those who invest in equities would know that not all stocks in a portfolio give returns — the losses in some stocks are made up by the returns from others. And then there are the multi-baggers that give stellar returns! For the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), its focus on Punjab has given it multi-fold returns and will make up for the losses it has incurred in other states such as Uttarakhand, Goa, etc.

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Most of the exit polls predicted an AAP victory, and the results coming in on March 10 seem to reflect that. From 20 seats in the 2017 polls, AAP has easily crossed the halfway mark of 59 seats, and the Congress’ tally of 77 seats in the outgoing assembly.
In 2015, when AAP won the Delhi assembly election — 67 of the 70 seats — the joke was that the Opposition could attend assembly sessions travelling in an auto-rickshaw. Punjab is a bigger state, but proportionate to it, the Opposition in Punjab can reach the assembly in a bus.
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What AAP has managed to achieve is not just decimate the Congress in Punjab — after it did the same to the grand old party in Delhi — but also inspire hope in the electorate. That the people of Punjab chose AAP over the regional behemoth Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is a testament that they have voted against the ‘politics as usual’ formula that the SAD and the Congress have been practising for decades.
Infighting in the Congress contributed to the party’s defeat, but that should not take away from the message of change and hope AAP inspires among the electorate.
The Punjab win presents before AAP new opportunities and challenges.
With this win, AAP is no longer a ‘one state’ wonder, and has proved that its formula has takers beyond the urban pockets in India’s cities and towns. Expect AAP to get ambitious and in all probability it will be eyeing to extend its presence in Gujarat in the upcoming elections later this year. The reason for targeting Gujarat would be because AAP seems to be doing well in capturing the electoral space where the Congress is either the ruling party or the main opposition. AAP is yet to prove its dominance against a regional party in a state where the Congress is a non-factor (like Uttar Pradesh).
With this win, AAP becomes the first among equals in the non-BJP, non-Congress combine as it has achieved what no other regional party has — to be in power simultaneously in two states. In the run-up to the 2024 general elections, AAP will matter.
This, of course, will happen provided AAP delivers on its promise in Punjab — and herein lies the challenge. Till now, AAP has been synonymous with its leader Arvind Kejriwal, but now that the party has come to power in Punjab, Bhagwant Mann, AAP’s chief ministerial candidate, will be a power centre on his own. It is to be seen how the AAP machinery will work out this new arrangement. Many leaders who have left AAP in the past have complained that Kejriwal’s style of functioning was ‘autocratic’ — will this hinder AAP’s functioning in Punjab?
With Punjab, AAP comes to power in a full state where every department is under the state government. In Delhi, it being the national capital, AAP complains that it cannot work freely as the state government does not have full control over various departments, including the police. In Punjab, AAP has no room for such complaints. AAP’s governance in Punjab will reflect its true potential — and will act as a billboard for its campaign in other states.
The Aam Aadmi Party is no longer a political experiment — its governance in Delhi partly reflects the change it has promised in Indian politics; AAP will have no excuses for failing to deliver in Punjab.
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