Monday, 29 August 2016

PUNJAB AT CROSS-ROADS: 2017 (Part 5); Punjab Pradesh Congress


Punjab Pradesh Congress

One self goal after the other and one deliberate LBW after the other have brought AAP, which has been the forerunner in Punjab politics of date, on a pedestal where they have to decide whether they want to remain in the electoral race of the state or not. This electoral race has a grand victory trophy in shape of formation of a government in a bankrupt state where people are immensely rich and ever ready to cough up money at the slightest of twisting of their arms by people in position and in power. What a grand trophy it is, eh!!!

The biggest blunder being committed by AAP is that it is just banking on the grand and gala anti incumbency against the SAD (B) without any Punjab centric policy. Intelligentsia which hardly counts for anything worthwhile in the state of Punjab has been sincerely raking up this issue which is not falling in the ears of the AAPian leaders where as political parties like Congress and SAD (B) have just been using absence of Punjab centric policy of the AAP, as an election plank without any sincerity towards Punjab and its people as such. Anyhow from the point of view of a political analyst I, in this chapter, would discuss the position and strategies of the Congress.

At national level, Congress is at the rock bottom from where it can certainly rise and come out if it really and earnestly wants to. From the perspective of Punjab till the emergence of the third force called AAP, the trophy was captured alternately by Congress and SAD (B). In 2012 Assembly elections Congress lost majorly because of its own faults; that are over confidence, public dislike for some guys from within the coterie of Capt Amarinder Singh, back stabbing of the Capt by some people basking in the glory of his own charmed circle, infighting and internal sabotage, to name some of the more important reasons. Notwithstanding the self devastating role of the AAP, as on date, chances of Congress winning the prized trophy appear remote, not impossible though. Reasons primarily remain the same, as they were in 2012. The only additional factor of consequence this time is comparative dearth of ‘resources’ vis a vis SAD (B).

Capt. Singh had won the first round of the electoral race on account of his sheer grit and guts, rather than any strategy, when he successfully cornered Congress High Command to make him the PPCC president as also Chief Ministerial face for 2017 elections. This incidentally was also a strategic decision for the High Command which knew that it was fighting a battle for its survival with its back to the wall. There was no manoeuvring space. Capt had a commendable base and he has been a fighter. Had he not been made the chief ministerial candidate, he possibly would have floated his own political party and it was widely rumoured that he almost had. To hand over the reins to Capt was a last minute ‘sane and strategic decision of the party high command. It came in the middle of a scenario where a confident Pratap Bajwa had successfully ingratiated himself not only to Rahul but his back room boys as well. So sure he had become of his fortifications that he was in the middle of planning a gala show for Rahul in Punjab, during which several known independent and non political persons of standing were intended to be made to join Congress party. He had even started distributing important organisational posts and party tickets for 2017 assembly elections. Rahul Gandhi is said to have been firmly with him though Sonia Gandhi was inclined towards the Capt. Ultimately Capt’s determined arm twisting and Sonia’s soft corner for him worked in his favour.

And now the stage is set where Capt has to prove himself. Stakes are indeed high for Congress but they are higher for the Capt. Defeat may be disastrous for him. Not only he will have to start anew but it will be a setback for his son Raninder as well. Latter is not very old in politics and has already tasted defeat. His wife Parneet kaur has her constituency well knitted out but she too can’t survive totally on her own. Strategy of the Congress in retaining Prashant Kishore may not succeed. Political skulduggery and not just image building is needed. Prashant is banking upon a team of about hundred odd novice youth who are managing Captain’s media and social sites hoping to succeed like Arvind’s IT team. Prashant fails to realise that where as Arvind’s team had dedicated youngsters; he only has highly qualified youth but without either experience or dedication. They are just working as paid employees and most are either in the process of  deciding to quit or are already busy locating there next assignments. They are being used for several other sundry purposes as well like data collection and identification of local issues, opinion of so-called influentials etc and to use the data tactically in preparation of manifesto etc. Capt and Prashant need to realise that more than just data collection is needed. In other words ‘manoeuvring’ is needed and required at sundry field levels and that it is not possible on account of on the ground factionalism. As far as manoeuvring is concerned, they may get the support of some left oriented parties and some of the dera owners. But it may not really suffice. Prashant’s team is not being taken seriously by locals and they are not getting required support from people. Moreover even senior party leaders are ruing that neither theirs nor their party’s image is being enhanced. They allege that entire exercise is only a Captain centric action plan and they are already deliberating how to scuttle it. Team Prashant is planning to soon embark upon field rallies all over the state to try boosting image not only of Capt Amarinder but of the local party leaders and potential candidates as well. But it is again being looked upon sceptically since potential candidates are reportedly expected to spend at least ten crores each for their individual contest and image building in times to come. It is learnt that the PPCC has received more that seventeen hundred application of such potentially rich candidates.   

If Prashant Kishore really wants to help captain then he will need to rope in Nitish Kumar who can successfully garner Pravasi votes for any party. Unfortunately for Capt, Nitish has good equation with Arvind and may standby him ultimately. Incidentally Nitish is already eyeing Pravasi vote bank in Punjab and is likely to visit Punjab soon.

Some regional satraps with in Punjab Congress have already started mobilising their supporters to plan a grand sabotage. Such like individuals may include many of the seventeen hundred of such individuals who have the capacity to spend at-least ten crores each on their election campaign. Given that the total number of assembly seats are only 117, one can imagine the magnitude of the resultant 'Mahabharata' between the individuals who manage to get the 'ticket' and those who fail to get the same. Unfortunately for Capt neither the state nor central intelligence is there to feed him with raw data which is needed to plan the war room strategies. 

Incidentally a section of people in Punjab believe that Capt has lost his charisma and aggression. This is one single most damaging factor which does not go well with marshal Punjabis. Capt had also not been able to unfold his real action plan to combat the drug menace which has inundated and devastated the state.

About time that Captain Amarinder Singh renovates and commissions his war room and starts roaring like he used to…

War has been announced and trumpets may start blowing soon…

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