How Congress In Haryana And AAP In Punjab Are Harming Their Prospects

by Nishtha Anushree - Jul 14, 2022 08:14 AM +05:30 IST
How Congress In Haryana And AAP In Punjab Are Harming Their ProspectsRaghav Chadha and Kuldeep Bishnoi

Recent developments in Haryana and Punjab show that northwest India’s politics is currently in flux.

Bishnoi's departure: Congress' silence on the meeting of expelled leader Kuldeep Bishnoi with the BJP top brass sends the message that it does not believe any challengers to Bhupinder Singh Hooda should survive in the party.

  • Bishnoi has not been in the good books of Deepender Singh Hooda because of his past protests against his dictatorial style.

  • He had formed the Haryana Janhit Congress with his father Bhajan Lal that had even contested elections with the BJP in 2014. Later, he had parted ways in a bid to remain relevant and rejoined Congress.

Congress's future: Bishnoi is viewed as an asset for the party in Haryana and Rajasthan.

  • Having sidelined all prominent non-Jat faces in Haryana ranging from Bishnoi to Kumari Selja, it would be difficult for Congress to simply rally on the supposed Jat vote bank alone in the next assembly elections.

  • A question mark on the Congress’s functioning was already raised when Bishnoi was expelled for cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha elections, leading to Ajay Maken’s defeat.

  • Instead of trying to understand that many in the state unit were not happy with Maken’s candidature over options from within the state unit, the party has chosen to crack down on ‘indiscipline’, as it did in Punjab.

Chadha's arrival: Raghav Chadha has been appointed to an advisory committee to the Punjab CM. The buzz is that he is now the de facto CM of Punjab.

  • Chadha’s Punjabi roots are now being discovered to justify his appointment, including his family history of having moved from Jalandhar to Delhi.

  • Chadha has been the most trusted confidante of Arvind Kejriwal, being his eyes and ears in Delhi and now in Punjab.

How it harms them: AAP's Punjab government is already facing the charges that it works on remote control from Delhi.

  • It raises questions about the status of Bhagwant Mann. This would further alienate the voter base. Signs of rapid erosion of support for AAP had already been witnessed with the defeat in the Sangrur Lok Sabha bypoll.

  • The move’s unpopularity can be gauged by the fact that within hours, petitioner-advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti challenged the decision in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, calling it illegal and arbitrary.

  • The move is reminiscent of the National Advisory Council that the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government had set up to make Sonia Gandhi the ‘Super PM’ of India, with many files ‘going through’ her office.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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