by Ratnakar Tripathy
The Aam Admi Party [AAP] on the other hand is having a similar run in Punjab where it has managed to upset everyone with its rising popularity – it is now openly alleged that the BJP-RSS combine have instructed their followers to vote for Amarinder and the Congress rather than waste their ballot on the SAD-BJP combine. If this is really true, the BJP is surely convinced that there exists a visible and irreversible negative wave against the Badals. Interestingly in this case, the AAP has not declared its CM candidate and is letting Arvind Kejriwal’s image do the job for the time being, although AAP has repeatedly ruled out the likelihood of Kejriwal moving into the CM chair in Punjab. Here again Kejriwal cannot make the fatal mistake of claiming to lead a government in Punjab, the reason being he comes from Haryana and no Punjabi worth his salt will accept such chieftaincy. But more important that AAP has a long way to go and Kejriwal cannot on all occasions place himself in the CM bracket, thereby also scuttling his image of a prominent national figure. In this sense Kejriwal very much like Modi may become the chief star campaigner in various states but with no claims on CM-ships.
The picture that emerges from both Punjab and Goa seems bleak from the BJP viewpoint and there are signs that the party now plans to take measures it often does when cornered – create communal tension and raise the temple issue in UP. BJP seems to be doing both weaving its development rhetoric with provocative communal propaganda at the local level. In the coming days this rhetoric is likely to become more strident. But this will only ensure that the Muslims in Uttar Pradesh get into a tighter huddle and instead of splitting their votes between the BSP and SP decide to go whole hog for Akhilesh. So Akhilesh has a lot to rejoice these days though this is unlikely to make him smug, lucky as he has been to skip and escape so many insuperable hurdles lately.