The recent debate on IBN7, a few days back substantiated my observation that the Aam Admi Party in Punjab is under a massive and serious psychological attack from all sides.
For those of us who are not able to gauge the seriousness of this statement, I would like to refer to a rough parallel and draw their attention to what Field Marshall Sam Mankeshaw had done during the siege of Dhaka. He got repeated nerve wrecking warnings issued / broadcasted to the beleaguered Pakistani forces, at regular intervals, telling them about the massive siege and disastrous annihilation if they did not surrender and they did succumb without any further delay. It was an age old war strategy utilised timely and successfully. Had Pakistanis not panicked and consequently surrendered on account of this psychological warfare, the war possibly would have got lingered on with further heightening of international pressure on India to halt and the result would have been like what had happened in Kashmir way back in 1947 when advancing (though belatedly) Indian forces were made to halt and half-heatedly shout ‘ceasefire’ under international pressure.
The general impression after this afore said panel discussion was that the AAP Punjab was not only under attack but they were exhibiting signs of mounting tension, distress and of not been able to withstand them. As a matter of fact, they have been flustering for quite some time. Perhaps the reason there for is that most of the party activists are still more of volunteers. They are under pressure not only from outside but from within the party as well.
That they are under pressure from other parties is more than obvious. Their entry into Punjab, way back in 2014, was taken lightly both by Congress and SAD and they were taken by surprise when this new party cornered four out of the total of 13 Lok Sabha seats. The decision of the AAP to contest forthcoming Lok Sabha elections has badly unnerved the traditional political parties of Punjab that is, the Congress and SAD. Strong anti incumbency arising out of not so good ten year rule has made the ruling elite nervous. They are facing numerous challenges on almost all issues including drugs, deteriorating law and order situation, farmers’ suicides, bad financial management leading to bankruptcy, massive corruption, ‘kabza’ culture and alleged grabbing of natural, public as also private property and resources; to name a few. The Congress remains ridden with ‘Congress culture’, its biggest and monstrous enemy, which is slowly yet continuously eating it up. Assessments based on field studies, indicate that till not Prashant Kishore has not been able to make any substantial dent. Normal public perception is that Capt. Amarinder Singh has mellowed down and he is not as aggressive as he used to be, a factor which made him popular amongst chivalrous Punjabis. Continued existence of the so-called ‘coterie’ around him is also damaging his image and public perception. Common fear from AAP, is bringing both Congress and SAD together for a limited purpose, that is to damage their common enemy. Only the time will tell how much and to what extent, do they succeed in ‘cutting AAP to size’.
Aam Aadmi Party is also suffering from internal conflict and tensions about which their top leaders are not bothered. Top leadership is confident of their victory at the hustling and continues to ignore internal distensions and turmoil. Their limited purpose is to be in power in Punjab in 2017 and to try for others states like Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat etc., keeping their eyes on Lok Sabha in 2019. Punjab is a small state sending only 13 members of parliament and naturally they too get spread over and divided amongst various parties. Such a small number of elected representatives do not count for much in the Lok Sabha except in a scenario where the party in power in the centre has a thin majority and each and every head counts. On account of this reason internal strife within the party does not bother its national leadership but it is giving nightmares to the state level leadership and aspirants for the MLAship of Punjab Vidhan Sabha. For them it is a question of life and death and mounting tension has started showing on their behaviour which is constantly in evidence in their day today life and public behaviour. They are flustering, losing their nerve which, in turn is putting a question mark on their capability to rule the state. This factor shall be grabbed by political parties which are opposed to the AAP in Punjab.
About time that Arving Kejariwal, the party chief organises some Vipasana courses for the state level leadership or give them lessons himself as to how to cope up with internal and external pressures.