Stung by AAP barbs, Akali Dal to adopt ‘tit-for-tat’ strategy in Punjab | india | Hindustan Times
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Stung by AAP barbs, Akali Dal to adopt ‘tit-for-tat’ strategy in Punjab

india Updated: May 23, 2016 20:04 IST

The Akali Dal plans to take the battle to the enemy’s court by highlighting the AAP-led Delhi government’s ‘failure’ to resolve several problems plaguing its residents. In this file photo, party members can be seen protesting against the Delhi government over the dengue outbreak in the capital last year.(File photo/ Ravi Choudhary)

The best defence is a good offence, and the Shiromani Akali Dal is starting to realise this in the run-up to its electoral battle against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab early next year.

A television news report on the water woes in AAP-ruled New Delhi caught the attention of a senior Akali Dal leader last week, giving rise to the ghost of a strategy in his mind. The leader called up the news channel’s office to seek more copies of the report, which he now plans to run on regional TV channels across Punjab for good effect.

The Akali Dal, which has been in power in Punjab for the last nine years, plans to adopt a ‘tit-for-tat’ strategy against an aggressive AAP. The party leadership has called in a few social media experts from Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s team to try and rectify what it calls a “perception problem” arising from AAP’s tirade on the state’s drug menace and development-related issues.

At the same time, the Akali Dal wants to show that the AAP government is not doing so well at administering the country’s capital. “While the AAP has not been able to deal with the water and electricity problems in Delhi, it has promised the moon to the people of Punjab. We will expose them through fact-based campaigns,” Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral told HT.

Read: Cong, AAP conspiring to rob Punjab of river waters: Badal

Read: Sukhbir Badal cautions traders against AAP

The party leadership in Chandigarh plans to make short films on the rampant use of narcotics in college campuses across the national capital. “The idea is to dispel the assumption that Punjab is the drug capital of India. While the problem is graver in other parts of the country, such as Himachal Pradesh and Delhi, it is always Punjab that’s shown in a poor light,” said an Akali Dal leader from Chandigarh.

Read: Sukhbir wrong: Punjab indeed has a drug problem, worse than India, world

The films are seen as a way of countering social media attacks, such as an anti-drug music video titled ‘Ek Nasha ’ by poet-leader Kumar Vishwas, launched by the AAP leadership. The video fetched nine lakh views on YouTube by Monday.

The AAP is pinning its hopes on the people’s anger against the drug menace in Punjab to dethrone the Akali Dal in the coming elections. However, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party has a few problems of its own. It lacks a credible Sikh face to lead its Punjab campaign, a drawback that the Akali Dal plans to make the most of.

The Congress, the third party in the fray, is also trying to utilise poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s expertise for according party heavyweight Captain Amarinder Singh a much-needed image makeover. Singh, who has already been the chief minister, is banking on the anti-incumbency factor to return to power.

Read: HT ANALYSIS The Kejriwal question: Is Punjab that simple, really?

Read: ‘Fight drug nexus after you form govt’: Rahul foresees Amarinder as CM

Read: Will set up body to monitor private schools if voted to power: Capt Amarinder

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