Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Dark Horse: Punjab

A study of the current situation in the five poll-bound states leaves you in no doubt that there are powerful political forces in all of them and one party amongst the many does stand to come out on top, if not win a majority, in all them.

Except Punjab. The state that saw the BJP-SAD combine wipe out the Congress and Independents in 2007 is suddenly the hardest of all to predict. The ruling administration is mired in allegations of corruption and nepotism, which rings true at the very highest level through the father-son Badal combine.

To add to that, a mutiny within the SAD has seen a new political force rise, seeking to pull Punjab out of its precarious economic position. Sadly, neither the NDA nor the Congress seems to want to call the shots on the economy, which is so badly in debt that the State will have to make some hard choices in the future.

The Congress itself seems weak, with Capt. Amrinder Singh's jibes at the incumbent only helping so much. Now, with the UPA dithering over FDI in retail, which Punjab farmers strongly back, the Congress is increasingly seen as a force that cannot be trusted.

From having zero Independents back in 2007, the border state looks set for a massive showdown that could see Independents take centre-stage in government formation. A politically-charged future is certain this March!

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