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Punjab Assembly election 2017: Stay relaxed till March 11
After five years of hectic schedule of the leaders and workers of political parties, they now look relaxed and have been out on the social media from the 5th of February, for conveying their thanks to the voters and reviewing their performances with the workers, before the announcement of final results.

Although 40 days is quite a long period to wait for the results of the elections in Punjab, but at the same time, it's time for the leaders to relax after a long grueling period of five years for the ruling party and ten years for the opposition parties.

This time, social media – which was more hi-tech with availability of platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp – played a major role in updating the voters in the state and in creating awareness on exercising their right to vote.

The Election Commission, government officials and security agencies have done a commendable job for conducting of elections in a free-fair and transparent manner, barring a few incidents of violence which did not result in any loss of life.

Keeping aside, what would be the fate of 1,145 candidates in 117 constituencies with 34 reserved, in fray in Punjab Assembly polls 2017, which will be decided by 1,98,79,069 general and 1,50,547 service voters, and has already been sealed in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) on February 4. It would be difficult to say how many seats will be won by a particular party, with a ban on exit polls, as the elections are being held in other states till March 10. So, the contestants as well as the voters who are more anxious to know the results, will have to keep patience till March 11.

Punjab has recorded 78.6 per cent polling in 117 Assembly constituencies – 69 seats in Malwa, 25 in Majha and 23 in Doaba – which turned out to be below expectations of the Election Commission which had targeted 85 per cent voting. The total numbers of candidates in the fray were 1,145, including 81 female and one transgender.

All the three major political parties that contested in the state – SAD-BJP (the ruling party), Congress and AAP – are claiming to form the next government with a majority. Earlier, it was a one-to-one contest, but now for the first time in history, there is a triangular contest in almost at all the seats in the state.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) fielded its candidates in 94 seats while its ally the BJP nominated candidates in the remaining 23 seats. Congress contested alone on all seats.

AAP, which is contesting Punjab polls for the first time, fielded candidates in 112 seats, while its ally, the Lok Insaaf Party, led by Ludhiana-based Bains brothers, fielded nominees in five seats.

Other political outfits in the fray include BSP, former AAP leader Sucha Singh Chhotepur-led Apna Punjab Party, the Left comprising CPI and CPI-M, and SAD-Amritsar.

It looks that in view of announcement of demonetisation well before the elections, and two-terms of SAD-BJP anti-incumbency move, it is going to be a 'political litmus test' for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially with the entry of AAP in Punjab after getting majority in Delhi.

Primarily, because of the party's decision to give the reins to Captain Amarinder Singh, who is widely respected among Sikh voters and secondly due to the induction of cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Congress has gathered much ground in the state, especially in areas around Amritsar, from where the former cricketer is contesting.

Frankly speaking, the contest would have been more interesting and favourable for the political parties, had the Congress and BJP announced their candidates well in advance.

In fact, every voter is reacting to just two `D' issues — drugs for youth, and domination by associates of the ruling party – which have changed their mind-set for a change in politics with Congress and AAP.

Mostly in triangular contests, the benefit of votes goes to all the three parties with gain to one and loss to the others, the result of which could be a half–baked cake in the form of `khichdi sarkar' or a fractured mandate on March 11, which could be even more dangerous for the development of Punjab. If an outsider like the AAP gets majority over Congress, it will have a direct impact on the next Lok Sabha elections due in 2019.

But for now, stay relaxed till March 11.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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