Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 22
The non-BJP parties at the Centre are fingers crossed on the possible effect of postponing of the election to 117-member Punjab Assembly from the earlier schedule of February 14 to February 20 on the poll outcome.
Also, many in the non-BJP camp wonder if the ruling Congress goose-stepped into a trap of the BJP with regard to shelving of the election date.
The delay gave crucial window to BJP and its allies, including Captain Amarinder Singh to organise themselves to pick up pieces in the backdrop of farmers’ agitation.
It also provided SAD the leeway to organise its campaign against Congress and AAP.
The Election Commission had shelved the date following demand, including by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi in view of birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas as on February 16.
In a sudden development, a bandwagon roared in the State to defer the poll date. In the related din, it was hard to put a finger as to who originated the clamour for it.
The anxiety among the opponents of the BJP now stems from the extra time allowed to it to sharpen its election campaign along with its allies, including former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
The countdown for the election result in Punjab had begun with the debate generally centred on either Congress or Aam Aadmi Party emerging as the winner.
However, after the poll, the debate has now veered to speculations on the possibility of the result throwing up a hung assembly.
The view doing the rounds is that the BJP and its allies, and the Badals-led Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) finally bettered their positions in comparison to when the election campaign had begun, create a scenario of a multi-cornered contest in majority of the assembly seats.
The Congress and the AAP campaigns had apparently peaked even while the BJP and its allies had their backs to the walls. BJP and its allies were engaged tying up loose ends.
The sequence of the events suggest that BJP waded into thick of election campaign with gusto, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rallies in the state.
Modi met notable Sikh personalities, including religious figures during the crucial window-period creating a favourable optics.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and senior BJP leaders were visible with public meetings and contact with people in the State.
The BJP also used the celebrations of Guru Ravidas’s birth anniversary at his birthplace in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on February 16 to good effect.
A large number devotees of the Guru Ravidas from Punjab visited at his birth place Varanasi to homage. Varanasi is represented by Modi in Lok Sabha.
While the BJP used the time gained for the polls to organise its acts continually upgrade its campaign during the margin period, the Congress was getting bogged down with its senior leaders including in public smack-down against each other.
Also, during the fag end of the campaign, AAP was hit with a controversy out of the blue with Kumar Viswas, once its senior leader- putting out a vide post saying national Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had wanted to become Chief Minister of Punjab in the eventuality of party winning the Assembly election in 2017.
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