Punjab polls may be over. But AAP isn't sitting quiet
It has been 22 days since polling in Punjab finished, but the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has continued to maintain its political tempo in the state.
While the Congress leadership has confined itself to an odd statement on the controversial Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue owing to the political temperatures rising in Haryana, the top Akali leadership busied itself with supervising the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Polls (DSGMC), the polling for which was held on Sunday.
But the AAP leadership has been coming out with political overtures all this while. Win or lose, this sends a clear signal to the people that AAP has emerged on the scene, said observers.
The party has now launched a formal campaign against drugs and deployed its candidates and volunteers across the state to collect data on drug victims and de-addiction centres. This was announced at a thanksgiving function of party volunteers held at Nakodar on Sunday where the entire Punjab AAP team and its senior national leaders including Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak were present.
The party unveiled the road-map to counter drug menace in Punjab, which was one of the key promises, in its manifesto.
The party is confident of a victory in the recently held state Assembly polls the results of which will be declared on 11 March. Durgesh Pathak announced that AAP would cut the drug supply chain within 24 hours and the entire drug menace would be wiped out from the state within one month after the formation of the AAP government.
Pathak told party candidates and volunteers to collect data on drugs in specified forms within one week. The candidates have been asked to collect information on paramedic staff and present status of treatment in all government de-addiction centres within three days. Speaking at the event, Pathak pointed out that getting power is easy but making a healthy society is the most difficult task.
In his address, Sanjay Singh assured the volunteers and people of Punjab that AAP would fulfill each and every promise it has made in its poll manifesto.
Sangrur MP and AAP's poll phenomena Bhagwant Mann underlined that a big victory for AAP would also bring bigger responsibility. He said, “But we will celebrate it when we are able to end the miseries of all sections of society be it poor farmers, unemployed youth and Dalits.”
He said that AAP in Punjab would implement the road-map drawn by the party's National Convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The right agendas
Keeping the foot on the political accelerator, the AAP leadership has now decided to meet the state governor VP Singh Badnore on the issue of the forthcoming wheat procurement. Sanjay Singh has stated that the party has seized up the wheat procurement season starting from 1 April and is preparing an action plan for it.
The leadership will meet the Punjab governor to seek his intervention for release of the Cash Credit Limit (CCL) by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The alleged CCL scam that came to light during the wheat procurement season last year had become a major issue in the run-up to the polls.
Sanjay Singh and senior party leader HS Phoolka have expressed concern over inaction by the outgoing SAD-BJP government and have alleged that the farmers have been left in the lurch as the government did not start the process of obtaining CCL.
Sanjay Singh said that after forming the next government, AAP would hold an inquiry into the multi-crore food scam in Punjab, in which son-in-law of Chief Minister Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon was directly involved. He once again reiterated that the cabinet minister in the outgoing government Bikram Majithia would be arrested before 15 April and all those involved in drug trade would be behind bars within a month’s time.
No foul play
Right from the day the polling got over, the AAP volunteers have been guarding the strong rooms across the state where the EVMs have been kept apprehending foul play by their political opponents.
Some days ago, the AAP leadership had appealed to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to completely restrict any sort of activity within the compound where the EVMs are stored across the state.
AAP state convener Gurpreet Singh Waraich, legal cell convener Himmat Singh Shergill and dialogue committee chairman Kanwar Sandhu said after an incident in Patiala where the District Returning Officer (DRO) allowed old EVMs to be shifted to the same complex where assembly poll EVMs are stored, the possibility of sabotage couldn't be ruled out.
They said that even though Election Commission has clarified that EVMs removed by district officials were those used in the Municipal Corporation elections but it was an unusual and suspected action. The AAP leaders said that district authorities had no business to enter the complex till the time election process is not completed.
According to the AAP leadership, about 15,000 volunteers are monitoring the EVMs and would stand guard against any attempt by the ruling SAD-BJP alliance to alter the process. They said that Akali Dal leaders are frustrated over their imminent defeat and they can go to any extent to sabotage the EVMs.
They demanded that the Election Commission not allow any official to go beyond the first circle of security.
“This total guarding of the strong rooms will continue. We are now busy preparing a road-map for implementing our manifesto,” party leader Ahbab Grewal told Catch.
The Congress leadership has been saying that the excessive display of paranoia by AAP, right from its top leadership to the lowest cadres, has assumed ludicrous proportions and indicates to the complete demoralisation in the party in the face of their imminent defeat in the recently concluded elections.
Congress President Captain Amarinder Singh recently said that with Arvind Kejriwal leading the way, every Tom, Dick and Harry in the party is running to the Election Commission with one or the other frivolous complaint, clearly indicating that the party is preparing the ground to save face following the declaration of the results.
Amarinder demanded that, as in the case of the judiciary, there should be some provision in the Election Commission rules to penalise political parties and candidates found indulging in unsubstantiated complaints and petitions and engaging the commission in cheap gimmickry to further their vested interests.
Edited by Jhinuk Sen