PUNJAB PART 2- THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION - ARE CHANCES OF AAP DWINDLING?
In my previous Blog on Punjab Polls, I tried to closely scrutinize the claims of AAP and the self-appointed or paid poll pundits that the party was about to sweep polls there. I examined the pros and cons of the assessment and concluded that AAP, as a contender can not be ruled out of fray, given its vote share in LS polls 2014. But taking all the fault lines into account, I concluded too that the road ahead is not so easy for the party, given the changing equations.
Yes! Right! Equations change. One should not go by mere appearances. Let us take a latest example. The Picture Kabali started trending long before the release of the Movie. An on-line Teaser was posted and millions viewed it and gave a Thumbs Up! People around the world were eagerly waiting for the release of the movie. It is not exaggeration that some Rajani fans spent sleepless nights since a week before.
I am in US now. Here the ticket rate was $27 on the opening day. Next day it was halved. After one week, they were offering three tickets for $10 and still the theaters were empty.
The polls are manipulated like the teasers. Both involve money. If anyone studies the body language of AAP leaders today, he will certainly be able to see a sea change. They are down and out. Who is reason for the death of Karna? Himself! Is it not? Kejriwal's overconfidence and megalo mania is doing him in. His negative approach to all and sundry issues is boring to the hilt.
The sudden resignation of Navjoth Siddhu from Rajya Sabha, his attack on BJP would not have come without Arvind Kejriwal promising him something. As is usual for him, he took a U-turn and now he tweets that he respects Siddhu as Cricketer. One can not be oblivious to the fact that Siddhu was an ardent critic of the AAP Chief and a very sincere follower of Modi. Clearly, Kejriwal either took advantage of the cricketer or he himself fell into trap with Mann and others opposing his supremacy and Mann, especially, in all likely hood, blackmailing him on the Parliament Video issue. We should not loose sight of the fact that the Parliamentary Committee is inquiring if Mann took instructions from his boss. Release of the audio tape to the Committee will spell doom to Kejri. It may be a reason for elevating Mann and showing bear hand to Siddhu.
These bloopers cost AAP heavily A keen observer knows that after declaring nineteen candidates for seats, all is clam in the party. No further lists were released, nor aggressive comments are heard on the NDA or drug issue. What happened suddenly? Let us examine.
1. Let me share a link of 5forty3 under the Head Line,
IN SEARCH OF A MISSING WAVE IN THE HEART OF A WOUNDED CIVILIZATION
Let me quote few excerpts.
“Arre Naresh yaar ab tho bataa dey inko, ab tho main phas chuka hoon” (Naresh please tell them the truth at least now, now that I have been caught), a teary eyed Vijay Kumar is reported to have confronted Naresh Yadav in the Patiala police station on July the 5th. Vijay Kumar is the main accused here in the Quran sacrilege case of Malerkotla while Naresh Yadav is the Mehrauli MLA of AAP and also the “sah prabhari” of AAP’s Punjab affairs.
Just a couple of days before he was brought to Patiala for questioning, when the media asked Naresh Yadav if he knew Vijay Kumar, he had reportedly quipped, “Being a politician, many people come and meet me. I would have no knowledge if a person meeting me today goes and commits some heinous crime tomorrow.” – a standard and cynical one liner used by all politicians since many decades.
The Quran burning case has become a noose around the neck of AAP. They wanted to wean away one vote bank from the Congress and failed miserably. Kejriwal, for one thing, has no control on any leader/cadre.
The 5forty3 survey furthers its survey to show that AAP will be in the third position if elections are held today in terms of Vote share. And by far, this is is the most reliable pollster, independent and with no affiliation.
2. AAP wanted to grab the Una incident in Gujarat and tried to target another vote bank of Congress. Congress played its cards cleverly and BJP is playing coolly. For one, these two parties have been in politics for too long and know the rules of the game. A few tweets here and a dharna there is not their USP. Here, AAP failed miserably again. Dalit politics is sharp on both sides. It is not easy to shift their allegiance by dramatics. And the Dalit voters now are not so ignorant nor illiterate as it were in the 1980's and '90s. They are politically savvy now. Youth are trying to influence the pattern of voting and hence the voting is not en-bloc. It differs from state to state and from booth to booth.
3. As mentioned in the report supra, AAP wanted to play on the emotions of a section of Sikhs deeply associated with the Khalistan movement. Those youth, who were not there when the Khalistan movement was at its peak in 1980s after Operation Blue Star and post-Bhindranwale phenomenon are ignorant of the deadly shape the movement took. Funds were pouring in from across border and Khalistan activists in other countries. It was free-for-all. The movement had to be dealt with caution as Sikhs are known for their patriotism. Any over-reaction would have had serious consequences. In its desperate bid to garner funds, AAP tried to play an out-of-the box political hara kere by again igniting the Khalistan demand, reportedly. The drug issue they took up is only a mask to cover up their clandestine operations. Hopefully, people of Punjab, especially the Sikhs will see through the game soon. And to add to the comfort of the Sikhs, 212 families who were tagged with Khalistan movement are now allowed to travel to India, after a ban of decades. This is a positive signal to the Sikhs that Centre is sympathetic to them.
4. The GST Bill passed in Parliament, the smooth functioning of Parliament after a long period, the number of bills getting passed, the total unanimity in the country on many issues and opposition parties reading the mood of the nation that Narendra Modi is trying to unite the country and any opposition to his efforts will only marginalize the opposition etc. derailed the "hate campaign" the AAP unleashed on Modi. By attacking Modi for what happened in a rural area in Nagaland, Kejriwal exposed himself that he is unfit to be a leader. The positive vibes in the country is a negative point to growth of AAP, even in Punjab.
5. Perception is growing in the nation is that for his inefficacy to rule a small Union Territory, Kejriwal is running a 24x7 feud with Modi, for which the Statesman is too cool to respond.
6. The arrest of one MLA a day had a negative effect on AAP across the country, why not in Punjab?
7. Dissidence has become the order of the day in AAP and people started remembering the running feuds in the Congress. But in Punjab today, Congress is a unified house overtly, if only to regain power that it lost from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
8. And SAD, in spite of strong incumbency, is trying hard to rectify few mistakes and be in the reckoning.
9. BJP has a nationwide appeal and there is no reason to believe it receives less number of votes than in 2014 LS polls.
10. Good monsoon this year changes the voter perception. When farmers and laborers are happy, they forget the anti-government sentiment. This is a unique phenomenon in India. More on this in my next blog.
The final moot question in Punjab is "Who will lead AAP in the state?" Last time around in Delhi, BJP failed to name CM candidate and failed. This time around it is turn of AAP. The pollsters that predicted a sweep for AAP based their presumptions on Kejriwal being the CM. AAP ran a campaign like that. Now voters know he will not move to Delhi. For, Kejriwal knows that after projecting himself as CM face if he loses, he stands to lose Delhi too! It will be a double whammy. Already Delhi is a lost case. Or else, on the arrest of MLAs he would have resigned and challenged BJP.
I have attended operas, whenever I could not help it, for fourteen years now; I am sure I know of no agony comparable to the listening to an unfamiliar opera. ~ Mark Twain
This is how the Delhi voters must be reacting to the agony of voting AAP again.
The conclusion is that all is not rosy for AAP in Punjab polls. The hype created is thinning out fast. It hibernated to the Himalayas already. It is time for Congress and NDA to fight it out. Who has better chance? Next Blog.
SARVEY JANAHA SUKHINO BHAVANTHU
Next Blog: Can Congress win back Punjab?