With the Congress increasingly losing ground, AAP’s expansion mode might see it take on the saffron brigade in the latter’s fiefdom of Gujarat, reports Asian Lite News
The phenomenal performance of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party (AAP) in Punjab will help it emerge as a pivotal player in the non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) camp and set the stage for ‘NDA versus regional parties’ duel in the 2024 general elections.
The victory also puts AAP as a key challenger to BJP at pan-India levels for the first time. With the Congress increasingly losing ground, AAP’s expansion mode might see it take on the saffron brigade in the latter’s fiefdom of Gujarat. With Delhi and Punjab under its control, the AAP has declared itself a potent force to take on the BJP.
The Congress, which had tried to keep AAP out of the Opposition’s power play for long, is bound to lose its grip, at least for the time being, with parties such as AAP, the Trinamool Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) waiting to play a bigger role.
“The Congress and AAP now have equal number of states,” quipped a Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP, underlining the importance of AAP in the Opposition’s scheme of things. Kejriwal is ruling Delhi and set to win Punjab. The Congress is now left with just Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
AAP’s victory in Punjab will embolden a significant group within the non-BJP quarters and also fuel West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s plan to skirt the ‘grand old party’ and create an alliance of non-Congress, non-BJP outfits such as the TMC, AAP, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), TRS, YSRCP, Janata Dal (Secular) and Shiv Sena, among others.
Kejriwal and Banerjee also enjoy a good rapport, with the West Bengal chief minister being the first Opposition leader to invite Kejriwal for talks after the latter won Delhi for the first time. In the last Opposition meeting in August, Banerjee had insisted that AAP, Naveen Patnaik’s BJD and the TRS should also be invited to such Opposition meetings.
However, those meetings would now be least relevant for AAP and other regional parties. Kejriwal, Banerjee, Uddhav Thackeray and the others would soon chart their own course of action for 2024.
Kejriwal congratulates Punjab for ‘revolution’
As Bhagwant Mann gets set to become the next Chief Minister of Punjab and taking the party’s footprint beyond the national capital Arvind Kejriwal tweeted a victory image with him with a tweet capturing his sentiment.
A large number of AAP volunteers, Sangrur deputy commissioner Ramvir along with Senior Superintendent of Police Swapan Sharma have reached Mann’s Sangrur residence, with security increased.
Mann, his sister Manpreet Kaur and AAP Punjab in-charge Jarnail Singh are at his residence. Mann will shortly address from the stage set outside his house. Earlier, in the morning Mann visited Mantuana Sahib Gurdwara and prayed for success.
Siddhu accepts defeat
Meanwhile, Congress’ Punjab Chief, Navjot Singh Siddhu, has ‘humbly accepted’ the people’s mandate saying, ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God’
Congress’ hopes to retain Punjab after the ouster of its former chairman Amarinder Singh have been dashed by AAP’s ecstatic performance which crossed the majority mark within a few hours after counting started. Both Siddhu and Punjab Chief Minister Channi were trailing at the time of writing this story.