The clean sweep of the Punjab municipal polls will come as a relief for the Congress with the state heading for assembly elections next year. Punjab is among the few states where Congress has managed to retain its base amid the BJP juggernaut. Captain Amarinder Singh has been facing dissidence from a faction led by PS Bajwa. But the result will strengthen the 78-year-old chief minister’s hand.
The Akali Dal, which pulled out from NDA after the farm ordinances were promulgated and just before the farm laws were passed in Parliament, has also been hit badly. The party with a distinctive Sikh identity will also ponder over how it can fight the 2022 elections, without the crucial votes that the BJP brought to the alliance.
The Punjab results have gained attention in the wake of the farm agitation that originated from the state. While the Punjab result per se won’t worry the BJP too much given its minimal stakes in the state, the spread of the farm fire to Haryana and now Western Uttar Pradesh, both strongholds of BJP, is another matter. With no easy resolution to the farm agitation in sight, the political strategies pursued in north India by the Centre and opposition will be keenly watched.
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