Punjab 2017 – An Historic Electoral Battle
Parkash S Badal also started his political career in 1947. He was Sarpanch of the village Badal and later Chairman of Block Samiti, Lambi, before rising into Punjab politics. He was elected to Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1957 for the first time. He was re-elected in 1969, serving as Minister for Community Development, Panchayati Raj, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries. He was Leader of the Opposition in 1972, 1980 and 2002. He was a union minister in Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s government in 1977, serving as Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation. He has been elected to the Punjab Assembly a total of 10 times, in 1957 and in each election since 1969, except for the February 1992 election, in which he led a boycott of state elections by the Akalis. In 1997 elections he won from the Lambi Assembly Constituency and has been a consecutive winner for four terms.
Badal senior now has to face Jarnail Singh – a new player in Sikh politics who has risen to fame after challenging India’s then Home minister Chidambaram by throwing a shoe at him to protest against Chidambaram’s defense of Sikh genocide instigators and thus Jarnail Singh has played a pivotal role in bringing the 1984 Sikh Genocide issue to the forefront.
Punjab is at a critical juncture and the electorate now has to choose the party they want to be governed by. This election is going to be one of the most closely watched elections in Punjab history but the fight in Lambi is going to be a matter of personal pride for Badal senior and his whole legacy.
Jarnail Singh understands the pain of 1984 very well and might be able to challenge Badal senior to face up to his role in the 1984 era. This is how Punjab will likely try to reconcile at least to some extent with the pain of 1984.
Badal senior and junior [Sukhbir Badal] have worked hard on the development of Punjab in the last year but it is the pain of 1984 that they need to be held accountable for. Punjab has a number of ongoing issues like unemployment, drugs, corruption and so on but Badal senior needs to be made to answer for 1984.
Badals try to use Panthik agenda only to fool Sikhs and to emotionally exploit them for votes. Jarnail Singh now might end up being the antidote to that process. Do Sikhs want to continue to be addicts to the Badal administered drug of “Panthik agenda” or do they want to take the antidote and get the Sikh psyche freed from this grip of Akali Dal politics that has only brought pain and victimization to Sikhs – and instead venture on to find alternative ways to express the Panthik agenda?
It is going to be a tough decision but Sikhs of Punjab have to make that decision. Choose Badals and status quo will continue. Choose AAP with Jarnail Singh as the Punjab CM and Sikhs of Punjab will venture into a new adventure in their relationship with India.
If Sikhs are indeed able to reject the Badals and his Akali Dal, it will be an historic decision for them, thus free themselves of not only Badals but also the pain that the corruption of the Akali Dal has brought to the Sikh psyche.