The fact that the Congress leaders are having sleepless nights in retaining their previous tally of eight seats at a time when the party is smarting under the impact of its failures at the Centre can be clearly seen.

Besides, the Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine government in the state is also facing an unprecedented wave of unpopularity. However, Maharaja Amarinder Singh and Sukhbir Badal made the contest, which is being fought in the passionate land of Punjab, into a battle of mustache.

Roaming around Malwa, Manjha and Doaba in Punjab gives a feeling that the political battle of the entire nation is limited to the 13 seats. As several big names are in the fray, the compass of contest has also widened. Besides, the series of allegations and counter-allegations have further crossed all limits of humanity in the state.

It’s mainly due to this brand of politics that I got a feeling that there remains no distance between 2014 and 1984 in this state. Though insurgency has declined significantly in the past three decades and time has acted as healer to fill the pain of riot-affected people, these issues have started tickling once again in this year’s elections.

It would be difficult to say that who tried to scratch these old wounds but an untimely attempt to play around with these sensitive issues have surely taken politics to its lowest pedestal.

During the past four days of travelling across Punjab, a number of instances related to aggressive, indecent and objectionable statements have been noticed. This is saddening as well as unfortunate mainly because the social fabric of Punjab did not get scattered during when militancy was at its peak in the state as ‘Vahe Guru’ has always been showering blessings on this state.

It’s even frightening to think that what could happen if the attempts of stoking sparks of 1984 in 2014 even become a little bit successful… In such a scenario, when the entire nation is looking towards the loftiness of future, the deteriorating standards of politics might make things venomous by digging the skeletons.

Local parameters to understand the mood of Punjab voters could not be grasped as they are well upset with the state as well as Central government.  The UPA government is in the line of fire of the entire nation but the cloud of danger has started to hover above Badal government in this North Indian state as well.  As pointed out by a Jalandhar-based social activist, “Badal senior is taking old-age beatings.”

On the other hand, Badal junior has ‘privatized’ the entire state. His generousness can be only seen in Bhatinda. Due to personal differences with Navjot Singh Sidhu, even Harmandir Singh Sahib has been overlooked.

Due to faulty policies of Sukhbir Badal, the state government’s avenues are rapidly shrinking. In order to make up for this, the burden of tax is being passed on the people.

Fertile and productive land, hardworking nature of the people and on top of that, a happy-go-lucky nature had already helped them to overcome the challenges of poverty but now, the well-to-class has brought some of the unwelcome changes in their food habits and lifestyle and this is turn posing a severe risk to health. This issue, is however yet to become a poll plank.

A problem of similar nature with which the state is grappling is drugs addiction, which is a subject of discussion in the elections. After Jagdish Bhola’s revelations, bitterness have increased in the political air.

The Congress leaders have also trained their guns on a Punjab minister. In its response, the state government has passed on the buck to international borders and Himachal government.

When Narendra Modi will hold rallies on Friday, the air may witness a change. The saffron flavour of Modi’s rallies are expected to boost Badal camp and also soften down the royal attitude of Maharaja Amarinder Singh, who has taken the guard in political pitch after showing lots of reluctance.

Prashant Mishra/JPN

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