The 'rise and rise' of AAP in Punjab

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) Two former Chief Ministers Parkash Singh Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh along with incumbent CM Charanjit Singh Channi and several other heavyweights of the Punjab politics, unbudgeable for decades, were trampled under the winning chariot of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

It was not just a simple victory. In fact, the AAP trounced the 2022 Assembly polls this time by winning over 90 seats in the 117-seat Punjab Assembly. It is the first time that the party has expanded its political footprint beyond Delhi.

But how was a 9-year-old party able to achieve this momentous feat?

After the AAP formed a government in the national capital for just 49-days in December 2013, it immediately caught the national attention. The party's image was carried by the image of its national convener Arvind Kejriwal, an anti corruption crusader at that time.

Not even one month had passed, the AAP, portraying a clean image, started reaching out to the people out of Delhi.

It was then in January, 2014, a senior advocate of Delhi High Court, known for spearheading the legal battle to gain justice for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots -- HS Phoolka -- joined the Aam Aadmi Party. However, in 2019, he quit the party.

Two months later, in March 2014, comedian-turned-politician Bhagwant Mann also joined the party factions. It was Mann who completely turned the tables for the party.

With just two months remaining for the General elections, Mann started visiting several villages and making people to people contact which finally fetched results as just a year old party managed to get 4 MP seats in the May 2014 parliamentary polls that was dominated by the Narendra Modi wave. All four seats were from Punjab.

The darkhorse Mann trounced the polls by defeating the Akali Dal's senior leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and that too by over 1 lakh votes.

A year later in 2015, the AAP also formed a government in Delhi with an overwhelming majority of 67 seats in the 70-member Assembly, with its opponent BJP reduced to just three seats and the Congress drawing a blank.

Mann, 48, started rising day by day, prominently through his powerful speeches in Parliament on a range of issues.

In 2019, the party, though it was talk of the town and also got media attention, yet was able to win only 1 constituency in the General Elections. That one seat was also of Bhagwant Mann from Sangrur, Punjab.

Then came a year of massive farmers' protests where the AAP and its leaders lent extensive support to the farmers. Pertinent to mention that it was the Delhi government that first notified one of the three contentious farm laws.

The year 2021 also saw massive infighting within the ruling Congress party in Punjab which 'directly or indirectly' boosted the prospects of AAP winning the Punjab Assembly polls.

And finally on Thursday, the 48-year-old comedian-turned-politician scripted history with a thumping victory in Punjab.


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