THE resounding victory of the Aam Aadmi Party (APP) in Punjab positions AAP Leader Arvind Kejriwal, who is also the Chief Minister of Delhi, as the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in many ways.
First of all, Punjab has been a huge challenge for Modi and Kejriwal is shrewd enough as well as experienced enough to keep Modi on his toes. It will be interesting to see how AAP deals with the farmers’ demands, the state’s economy, the drug problem, the various “mafias” and the Khalistani factor, especially because of the threat from across the Indo-Pak border.
Secondly, AAP will now be emboldened to be more ambitious nationally and will even try to gradually become the main opposition party to challenge the BJP’s dominance in a host of states.
Canada’s Punjabis will be keenly watching every move Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann, who will be the next chief minister of Punjab, make — and if and when either of them visits this country, he is sure to receive a hero’s welcome.
Both the Congress Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) were badly humiliated in Punjab — as was the alliance of former Congress chief minister Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress (PLC), the BJP and SAD (Sanyukt).
Modi’s second challenge will be from inside his own party – Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath whose position has been cemented by winning a solid majority for his party in spite of the disadvantages of incumbency that resulted in the BJP losing some 50 seats.
UP is the California or Ontario of India as one-sixth of India’s population lives there. That places Yogi Adityanath in a very strong position in his party.