Arvind Kejriwal‘s Aam Aadmi Party scripted history today as it won Punjab with a massive mandate to become the only party to break through the cycle of Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal governments in the state.
AAP has won 92 seats in the 117-member Punjab assembly, leaving little to be shared by the rest. The Congress had to settle for 18 seats, losing Congress on 18 seats. AAP’s Bhagwant Singh Mann, 48, will be Chief Minister.
Kejriwal’s party has been vying to increase its national presence over the last decade. Created on a platform of anti-corruption and clean, welfare-driven politics in 2012, AAP has been targeting Punjab since 2017. Raghav Chadha, spokesperson of AAP, said this is a victory of the Kejriwal model of government.
Chadha further said that victory in Punjab has made AAP emerge as a national party and added that Aam Aadmi Party will become the principal opposition party to the BJP and a natural replacement of the Congress. He said AAP is emerging as a national alternative.
Victory did not come easy to AAP. During the 2017 Assembly elections, AAP was expected to perform extremely well. However, the Congress, then led by Captain Amarinder Singh, outdid everyone else. The grand old party won 77 seats and AAP won just 20.
In 2022, when Arvind Kejriwal went to Punjab to seek votes he sought “Ek Mauka Arvind Kejriwal Nu, Ek Mauka AAP Nu,” (one chance to Arvind Kejriwal, one chance to AAP). And Punjab gave them that chance.
As AAP’s relative unknowns won seats, political heavyweights crumbled. Outgoing Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi lost both the seats he contested. Former chief minister Amrinder Singh lost from Patiala. Shiromani Akali Dal’s father-son duo Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal, both former chief ministers, have lost too. The Congress’ Navjot Singh Sidhu has lost in Amritsar East as has Bikram Singh Majithia of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
In its landslide victory, AAP has performed well in all the three major Punjab regions — Malwa, Majha and Doaba.