Congress sweeps Punjab civic polls, power of farmers’ vote evident

The ongoing farmers dissent, which started in Punjab last year, reached Delhi borders, and has now radiated across India, has had an electoral impact

punjab poll
Image: PTI

Punjab goes to polls to elect its next state government in 2022, however the just declared results of its 2021 municipal body results has sent a message loud and clear. The ongoing farmers dissent, which started in Punjab last year, reached Delhi borders, and has now radiated back across India, has had an electoral impact. The farmers of Punjab, and those who support their demand that the three farm laws be repealed, have shown that the people’s vote may now depend on the way the political class responds to the demand.

In Punjab, it is the Indian National Congress that has swept the municipal polls, with such power that the Bharatiya Janata Party has been routed. The Congress won 1,399 of the 2,165 municipal wards, and six of the eight municipal corporations. According to a report in the Indian Express, the result of the Mohali corporation was postponed for Thursday. 



The Congress won most seats with a big margin, and the most talked about was Bathinda, which it won after 53 years. The win is a confidence booster to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who has been quoted in multiple media reports suggesting that these poll results were a forecast of what was to come next year when the state Assembly polls are due. “The drumming that SAD, BJP, and AAP have received in these civic polls is just the tip of the iceberg, and all three are set to be wiped out of Punjab’s political arena, and subsequently from the nation’s political landscape, in the months ahead,” he said.

The results from Bathinda are a case in point. The Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency is represented by Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), who quit from her post as Union Minister of Food Processing Industries in the BJP led Union Government in September last year. As SabrangIndia had then reported, the resignation had come in the wake of a massive gathering of farmers protesting outside the residence of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, at Badal village in Muktsar district. She remains a Member of Parliament, though eventually her party the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) disassociated itself from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre as the farmers’ protest grew in strength and spread across the country in the following months. The SAD had made it clear that the party would respond to the mood in Punjab, and oppose the legislation that the BJP still claims will “liberalise agricultural markets.” However, that move it seems has not won the farmers’ vote in these elections.

Bathinda MLA and state finance minister, Manpreet Singh Badal is from the Congress and is also a cousin of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal. This latest win is a crucial one for him too. The election results have also come in the wake of Punjab hosting its first “Mahapanchayat”, which was held last week at Jagraon grain market in Ludhiana. More such meetings have followed with farmers, farm workers, transporters, arhtiyas, and citizens groups attending in large numbers. The polls were held on February 14.

After the results, the low score of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the routing of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP, tells its own story. The  SAD leader, Harsimrat Kaur Badal accused the Congress of using “might, machinery and unleashed violence on the leaders of other parties, but SAD party workers have ensured that they fight and the results are here to see.” She added that her parly “will form the government in 2022.”



Meanwhile, the state is all set for a joint ‘Farmer-Labourer Unity Rally’ in the grain market of Barnala on February 21, organised by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU Ugrahan) and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union (PKMU). According to news reports this is expected to be as massive as the February 11 ‘mahapanchayat’, and will be a show of the people’s strength, and unity in the state. 



Centre is being obstinate by refusing to repeal the Agriculture acts: Sukhbir Singh 

When sports stars, politicians return awards citing betrayal of farmers, the world notices

Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?



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