Punjab civic body results: Humiliating defeat of communal forces significant for the nation

Results are certainly a big boost for Congress in the state ahead of assembly polls, and a huge setback for the BJP and SAD. It has lessons for other states too, and also for the country as a whole

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: PTI)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: PTI)

Gyan Pathak

The humiliating defeat of the BJP and the Akalis in Punjab civic body polls by the Congress is not merely a small political happening of the state politics, but is a significant one for the national politics of the country. The clean sweep by the Congress, which won six of the seven municipal corporations and emerged as the single largest party in the seventh, is not only a great boost to the party in the state, but also has the potential to push up the morale of Congress workers in other states.

These elections were held amid farmers’ protest against the three farm laws enacted by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre which has also got the four labour codes passed by the Parliament and subsequently notified. Labour rules are being framed, the draft of which are by and large perceived as anti-worker.

It is also to be noted that the elections were held in the urban areas, which are either the market towns for agricultural products or industrial towns, and thereby the results reflect sentiments of three sections of the society – the people involved in the agri-market, the working class involved in business and industry, and the people adversely affected by the vitiated socio-economic environment.

It is true that any local body election, even the election to the legislative assemblies of the states, is contested primarily on local issues. However, these elections of the urban local bodies were not fought on local issues. The chief concern of the people this time was which party is most suitable for them in the present circumstances. They thought that the BJP is most dangerous for them which is bent upon on distorting not only the agri-market through the three farm laws, but has also threatened the well-being of the working class by tampering with the labour laws through four labour codes. The relations between the working class and business and industries have somewhat become estranged.

BJP as a party was seen by farmers and workers as the root of their present distress. BJP leaders felt so much threatened by the public mood against them that most of them preferred not to participate in election campaigns. In many areas, people declared that any BJP leader visiting their area for election campaigns would be greeted with ‘wreaths of shoes’.

The BJP has traditionally been perceived to be strong in urban areas, but the party coming third in municipal corporations and fourth in municipal committees does not augur well for its future.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was also not seen as trustworthy, despite quitting the NDA in a bid to retain its support base. People could not forget that SAD was earlier an accomplice of the BJP. Merely disassociating from the BJP after the laws were passed in Parliament did not work for SAD. People are still of the view that SAD would ultimately ally again with the BJP, for both the parties have religious orientation with blatantly communal tendencies.

When the very survival is at stake, people can do almost anything to survive. The people of Punjab thus rejected both the parties which practice divisive communal agenda.

The most surprising and significant result has come from Bathinda corporation where there will be a Congress mayor for the first time in 53 years. The shift of voting from communal lines to the line based on well-being of the people is quite noteworthy. The trend, however, was prevalent in other areas too.

The results are certainly a big boost for Congress in the state ahead of assembly polls, and a huge setback for the BJP and SAD. It has lessons for other states too, and also for the country as a whole.

(IPA Service)

(Views are personal)

Click here to join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines