Monday, 29 August 2016

PUNJAB AT CROSS-ROADS: 2017 (Part 4); Self goal by AAP and aftermath...


Self goal by AAP and aftermath...

I am writing this blog after a gap of several weeks. I had been travelling in Punjab as also in Himachal Pradesh. I do not know if I have come out a shade wiser nor am still the same old fool. Anyhow my impressions of these days have been varied, ‘Kabhi Khushi, Kabhi Gum’ kinda! I will write about each of them separately, one by one.

First about Punjab as I see it as on date; the political scenario, as we inch towards Assembly elections scheduled for early 2017. The political scene which was hazy is become murkier. This chapter is dedicated to AAP, Punjab. Hope my plain talk, without malice, does not make them bitterer towards me.

AAP Punjab, which till now was ahead of others, in the race, had for some time now been showing signs of fatigue. After a steady climb, it had not only slowed down but even started showing signs of moving towards decline. There were serious internal bickering at all levels and the top leadership of AAP Delhi, which has no roots in Punjab, was getting aloof from Punjabi masses. Instead of trying to win over the masses it only hoped to cash on serious anti-incumbency against SAD and general anti Congress sentiments in a section of Punjabis.  It was becoming head strong, arrogant and refusing to come out of its ivory tower. First indication was criticism of Sanjay Singh, the ‘over ground’ party leader who was accused of generally favouring and of being in the company only of rich and powerful; some of whom had a somewhat shady past and against whom accusations of not being upright were being leveled. Complaints were lodged with the second and third rung of the AAP leadership in Delhi, but of no avail. Sanjay is one of the ‘Tri Murti’ of the party. The king, that is the Tri Murti in case of AAP, can do no wrong.

Talking of the ‘underground’ leadership of AAP, one which is not visible but is immensely active, as compared to ‘over ground’ leadership, mentioned in the preceding para; one headed by ‘Durgesh & Co’ had also been losing touch with masses. They were accessible only to the top rung leadership of various stray parties and pressure groups including Dera heads and unions. Undoubtedly ‘Durgesh & Co’ had been immensely successful in their venture and whatever inroads AAP had made, was because of them. They had been steadily working like a mole, or to put it in a slightly better language, like underground ‘operational intelligent agencies.’ I simply adore and love their modus operandi. But they failed to gauge and manage individual ambitions of the ‘old and established home grown leadership of Punjab’ which was basically not happy with the dictates of ‘outsiders’ for whom often ‘derogatory’ phrases  like ‘East India Company from Delhi’ and ‘Resident leadership of AAP Delhi’ were being used. I am really surprised that intelligentsia and top notch media managers like Kanwar Sandhu, Manpreet Randhawa and Chandra Suta Dogra also failed to see it all or may be, of which I am not privy, they were not heard by the ‘AAP Tri Murti’. Besides Arvind and Sanjay, several other top rung leaders of AAP like Ashish Khaitan, Kumar Vishwas etc had been in touch with them, but again I don’t know who failed and where. First sign of their faltering was evident when ‘Youth Manifesto’ came up.

Talking about the ‘old inland and established leadership’ of Punjab which had joined the party, serious rumblings had been going on for a long time now. Though the elevation of Sucha Singh Chotepur as Party Convener in Punjab went unnoticed and did not create any controversy but his act of ensuring that no ‘powerful’ person joined AAP Punjab did start the ball rolling. He was insecure all the time and he tried to ensure his ‘safety. The only person he was vary of, was advocate Phoolka who ensured his continuous presence in Punjab in general and in Ludhiana Rural in particular. Dr Gandhi and Harinder Khalsa, who had a ‘mind of their own’ got isolated. Bhagwant Mann was busy attempting hara-kiri all the time. Perhaps Sadhu Singh believed in the saying ‘a bird in hand is better than two in the bush’ and as such was happy. Sucha Singh has been on the same page with Sukhpal Khaira, another seasoned politician from Punjab and who was inducted and made spokes person of the party. Chotepur erroneously hoped of containing Phoolka who has considerable base amongst Punjabis in Delhi which is the very base of Arvind as well. Delhi is Arvind’s priority and he can’t dare to neglect it even in wildest of his dreams. Then came up the name of Navjot Singh Sidhu, a deadly meteorite who could demolish everyone else in the AAPian politics of Punjab and along with the callahoy all hands on the deck’, come and join the task force to oppose Navjot. Even the Tri Murti was scared in Delhi because Navjot has following in Punjab, a strong mind of his own and could pose a challenge to Arvind. AAP only wants a ‘supportive base’ in Punjab. I was sure of but one thing right from day one and that is that either of Navjots will not be inducted in the party. And I was right. Next writing on the wall was that now it is the turn of Chotepur and inevitable happened.

Old volunteers of AAP have been unhappy from day one, since the Parliamentary elections when they saw ‘para-shoot candidates’ being dropped in from nowhere. Old volunteers were ignored all along because they were individuals with drive, initiative, guts and grit; who refused to blindly follow the party dictates. Their local level units were set up all over, the strongest being in Jalandhar followed by Ludhiana. They have generally been opposed to Phoolka who, they allege did not stand by him. And now Phoolka is the most likely Chief Ministerial face, as on date, of AAP Punjab. Forces opposed both to Arvind and Phoolka are now being contacted by leaders belonging to Yogendra Yadav’s camp, whose initial plan to set up the ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’ in Punjab has failed miserably.

Next few weeks will be but an interesting ‘tug of war’ not only within AAP but in the form of attacks and counter attacks on it both by Congress and SAD.

Let’s sit back and enjoy…

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