Already in campaign mode for the assembly elections due early next year, parties in Punjab are busy boosting their morale through internal surveys by “independent” agencies. In the latest, before kick-starting a full-fledged campaign from this month, the Congress has found inspiration in a survey by a Delhi-based company that has forecast a clear majority for the party.
This survey gives the Congress 65+ seats in the House of 117, according to party sources; the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) gets around 20 seats, and SAD ally BJP barely five or six. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) tally has been estimated at below or at par with the SAD-BJP, which translates to approximately 25 seats.
Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh said that though he would like to discount such surveys as he had dealt with them often, he saw Congress better placed than its opponents. “There is groundswell of anger against the ruling SAD. It will be a major achievement for them if they win even 20 seats. As for the AAP, it has influence in a few pockets; and it is more of a noise than reality,” he said. He added that he would get a survey done by an “independent agency” closer to elections.
The ruling SAD, which too has got internal surveys done by a Delhi agency, is not so optimistic. According to party sources, the survey results have given the party 40+ seats, and less than eight to ally BJP, which means the majority mark of 59 would be hard to achieve. In the hung House thus predicted, the survey says the Congress would get around 20 seats and the AAP would finish second by bagging more than the Congress.
The AAP too has been gloating over a survey conducted by the agency C-Voter and published on the news website Huffington Post two months ago, which said the AAP was set to bag 94-100 out of the 117 seats. It had the Congress in a distant second position with 8-14, and the SAD-BJP alliance third with 6-12 seats. The party had pasted posters across Punjab about this survey, which was also a significant mention in its leaders’ speeches.
In the 2012 assembly elections, the Parkash Singh Badal-led Akalis had won 56 seats; Congress 46; and the BJP got 12. That equation swung further in favour of the SAD-BJP in bypolls.