Punjab politics: Beyond messaging, Congress has delicate duties at hand


After the political messaging by elevating Charanjit Singh Channi as Punjab’s first Dalit chief minister, the Congress has the powerful activity of sustaining a fragile social steadiness to stop counter-rallying by political and social opponents to its experiment.

Although Channi’s appointment was to whitewash the mess created by the ugly struggle of Gandhis-Sidhu with Amarinder Singh, Punjab political circles are cautious that the try at social churning and counter strikes may take a look at the fragile social and political chemistry and unity within the delicate border state.

The Punjab Congress and AICC brass understandably projected Channi’s elevation as a grasp stroke and highly effective message on social empowerment which, they really feel, has foxed the AAP that promised a Dalit CM. They calculate that Channi’s elevation has additionally neutralised the problem from an Akali Dal-BSP alliance, moreover checkmating Amarinder Singh’s counter plots. While symbolism performs a key function in electoral packaging, historical past is replete with situations of desperately manufactured picture crash touchdown on the electoral turf.

After the Janata Party authorities collapsed because of character clashes and ideological contradictions, its leaders got here out with the grand thought to camouflage the celebration mess and journey the Indira-Sanjay-led Congress struggle again: It projected Dalit icon Jagjivan Ram as its ballot mascot and prime ministerial candidate in 1980, hoping the numerous Dalit neighborhood would fan their electoral struggle and sew up a formidable social mixture. After the mission flopped, assessments confirmed that whereas Ram’s caste voted en masse for the Janata Party in north India, for political and social causes, most different Dalit segments and main castes rallied behind Indira Gandhi’s celebration to facilitate her triumphant return.

Almost twenty years later, the Vajpayee regime offered political heavyweight Sushma Swaraj as the primary girl chief minister of Delhi, lower than two months earlier than the meeting polls. It was projected as an amazing leap for girls empowerment and treatment to finish the raging feud in Delhi BJP. When the Swaraj authorities was voted out, Congress circles internally credited their celebration’s victory to sabotage of Madanlal Khurana-Sahib Singh Verma-Pramod Mahajan trio, aside from the spiralling onion costs. The same elevation of Rajnath Singh as UP CM and packaging him because the ‘Rajput and kisan chief’ in 2000, somewhat greater than a 12 months forward of the UP polls, couldn’t forestall BJP’s defeat. The ‘Sushma-Rajnath experiments’ are a reminder to BJP and Congress of the pitfalls of notional messaging earlier than the dramatic ‘sacking and making’ of CMs.

Some Congress leaders are of the opinion that the examples ought to immediate the Congress management to have an imaginative political backing for the Dalit CM mission. The 34% Dalit neighborhood in Punjab is the biggest focus of the neighborhood for any state, however the state has by no means allowed the Bahujan Samjawdi Party to be a significant pressure regardless of founder Kashi Ram being a member of the Dalit Sikh neighborhood and latter efforts of Mayawati, regardless of being UP CM.

Punjab consultants say that the Dalit neighborhood isn’t homogeneous and has many divisions based mostly on faith and caste. Among them are Mazhabi Sikhs, Valmikis, Ad Dharmis, Ravidasias, and so on, with inter-party and inter-region political loyalties. Expecting Channi to rally all Dalits teams behind Congress can be unrealistic, they really feel.

While a piece of Dalits would positively be enthused by Channi’s elevation, how the influential Jat Sikhs (about 25%) react to the ‘problem’ to its ‘management monopoly’ can be essential. Will pro-Congress supporters amongst them flip hostile after Amarinder Singh’s ‘humiliation’ regardless of Congress having one other Jat Sikh, Sidhu, as PCC chief, and whether or not they’ll collaborate with Akalis for revenge, isn’t a guess straightforward to hazard. The temper of the 38% Hindu neighborhood too is intently watched. Equally essential can be Singh’s subsequent transfer. Channi is younger and has the benefit of a divided Akali-BJP opposition, however has a decided challenger in AAP. He lacks the political stature of Singh or Badal and pan-Punjab attraction, aside from being saddled with a divided celebration and a PCC chief with unbridled ambition and self-obsession. Cahnni’s 4 months’ slog overs may see many new plots and realignments, providing him many alternatives in addition to challenges.


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