The Malwa region has many features of its own. It is a land of revolutions, surprises and contrasts. And, this quality has benefited the fledgling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), that has bagged four seats from the region.
All the four seats Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala and Faridkot, that the AAP has bagged, are part of the region.
Though in Bathinda, the people didn't vote for the AAP, yet most of them went in favour of Manpreet Singh Badal, who was also an iconic candidate like those of AAP's. The victory of the AAP from the region is not surprising for those who are aware of its special features.
LAND OF SURPRISES & MOVEMENTS
Being a land of surprises and contrasts , the region produces the highest yield of wheat per hectare in the country and has contributed a lot to the ushering in of the green revolution in the country, but, at the same time, most suicides by farmers of the state take place here. It produces a maximum number of soldiers, but also has maximum drug addicts, who even demand government kiosks of poppy husk and opium.
The region also remains the epicentre of the movements of naxalites, farmers, labourers.
Don't go back by decades to remember the Praja Mandal movement, Punjabi Suba movement or landless farmers' agitations, just remember the recent movement in the case of Bant Singh, a dalit, who opposed landlords or the case of kidnapping of a Faridkot girl, when the entire city observed bandh without any call by any organisation. Barnala observed a bandh without any call when a Badal-owned Orbit bus crushed a man to death.
RESENTMENT AGAINST RULERS
The rise of the AAP and the election of its candidate from here, is also because of the revolutionary minded, but shy people of the region, who believe more in action than making noises.
EARLIER ELECTORAL SURPRISES
People here always sprang surprises, as they defeated sitting minister and former chief minister Surjit Singh Barnala and elected Khalistan ideologue Simranjit Singh Mann from Sangrur, defeated Sukhbir Singh Badal at Faridkot in 1999, when both Akali Dal leaders were confident of their victories.
"For you (media), the victory of AAP in Punjab may be unexpected. But neither I am shocked nor amazed with the rise of AAP. It was bound to happen here, as there was a long disconnect with the public over real issues. So, people revolted and boycotted both mainstream parties, Congress and Akali Dal. And AAP provided a them platform to vent their anger against candidates of these parties, " said Prof Harish Puri, former dean of social sciences, GNDU.
POLITICS OF ELITE VS GROUND REALITY
Puri termed it an outcome of the disheartening disconnect between politics of the elite and the ground reality.
He said, "See, here the losers in the election include a real estate giant, a member of the formerly royal family, a former union minister, whereas winners are a comedian, a professor and a medico."
"The people voted against full-time politicians," he added, cautioning that "If AAP fails to do what they promised, they would also get rejected from here."
ANGER AGAINST CONTROL OVER SAND
A senior government official, on the condition of anonymity, said, "The people hate us (police, babus) as, instead of doing their job as per rule, we keep on pleasing our political masters and public suffers. Politicians have reaped what they sowed, ie anger".
In fact, in the belt adjoining the Sutlej, where residents make both ends meet by selling sand, revolted as the political class made them penniless by controlling sand.
"They said only tipper trucks can load sand, tractor-trolleys are not allowed. Thus, many lost their jobs and were deprived of work," said the officer.
Punjabi University's social scientist Harvinder Singh Bhatti said that Malwa is different from the Doaba region, that is a prosperous one for due to the NRI population and is not interested in movements. In the Majha region, people choose physical assault to target the opponents than launching movements. Here, they found the AAP candidates as a medium to teach a lesson to the rulers, adds Bhatti.
The rich-poor divide has increased during the last few years, thus the people, who were witnessing politicians and others prospering every year, while common man facing hardships even to make both ends meet; the anger came in the shape of vote against major party candidates.
The way AAP raised the issues of unemployment, drugs and elite class politics, many traditional Congress and Akali voters also voted for us. said another political scientist Shamsher Singh.
AAP filled the vacuum and provided a platform to desperate people, who were in search of light in the political darkness enveloping the state for well over two decades, he added.
Pash, a poet from this land had once said that "Sab ton khatarnak hunda hai, saade supniaan da mar jaana".
Really, the people of the region didn't allow the politicians to snatch their right to see the dream of a better future, said Dr Rajesh Sharma, an educationist.