AAP ‘Jhadu’ Becomes a Symbol of Change in Punjab

Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has received a thumping mandate in Punjab. AAP struck gold in Punjab in their second attempt after failing to put up a fight in 2017. Its supporters rejoiced and wished for Kejriwal to play a national role, declaring, “the AAP had conquered the Maharajas and the sky’s the limit for them now.” 

By Sonal Nain, 10 Mar 2022

Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, said to Asian News International (ANI) that the Kejriwal model of governance has been established at the national level.”

In his victory speech, the soon-to-be Chief Minister Bhagwat Mann said, “Punjab was being run from palaces; now it will be run from villages.”

Senior Journalist Chander Suta Dogra said to Mojo Story that there is a strong call for change in Punjab, and AAP will bring about new changes. The journalist said that the AAP started with a disadvantage because it lacked strong state leadership – a strong contingent of its volunteers had left and half of its MLAs had also deserted the party. 

The AAP conducted extensive on-the-ground research during the elections. Kejriwal had reached out to Dalits, who had backed him up. Chander said that the party sold the Delhi development model and people supported them, “Punjab’s school and health infrastructure is in disarray, and as a result, the lower strata of society bear the brunt of the consequences. Kejriwal promised to build good schools and hospitals. So this segment was looking to Kejriwal to improve their lives.” 

Concerning the allegations levelled against the AAP, she stated that “During the elections, the anti-AAP opposition made a concerted effort to level the same allegations against AAP that they did in 2017, namely that AAP is linked to terrorism. People got carried away, especially the Hindu community, voting for Congress. That is why the AAP was unable to seize power in 2017. However, it had the opposite effect on the electorate this time, as people rejected all of this and voted for change.”

The fact that they were perceived as outsiders worked in their favour. This was picked up on and projected in front of everyone. Chander told Mojo, “they started from a position of weakness and overcame it.” 

On the other hand, the Congress party brought nothing new to the table and Chander explained how Dalit Sikhs were left uninspired by Charanjit Channi.