HindustanTimes Thu,30 Oct 2014

Malwa goes by habit in favouring AAP

Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times  Sangrur, May 19, 2014
First Published: 10:20 IST(19/5/2014) | Last Updated: 10:23 IST(19/5/2014)

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.

While Bhagwant Mann bagged the Sangrur seat, Fatehgarh Sahib, Faridkot and Patiala have been won by Harinder Singh Khalsa, Prof Sadhu Singh and Dr Dharamvira Gandhi respectively.

The victory of AAP from the region is not surprising for those who are aware of its special features.

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, 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.

There is no need to go back by decades to remember the Praja Mandal movement, Punjabi Suba movement or landless farmers' agitations in the region, just remember the recent movement and upsurge 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.

People here always sprang surprises, as they defeated sitting minister and former CM Surjit Singh Barnala and elected Khalistan ideologue Simranjit Singh Mann from Sangrur, defeated Sukhbir Singh Badal at Faridkot in 1999, when both Akali 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. It was bound to happen here, as there was a long government disconnect with the public over real issues.

So, people boycotted both mainstream parties. And, AAP provided them a platform to vent their anger against candidates of these parties," said Prof Harish Puri, former dean of social sciences, GNDU.

Puri termed it an outcome of the disheartening disconnect between politics of the elite and the ground reality.

He said, “See, here the losers 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 rich-poor divide has increased during the last few years. Thus the people, who witnessing politicians and others prospering every year, revolted and boycotted 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.

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