Cameraperson - Shiv Kumar Maurya
Video Editor - Varsha Rani
The Aam Aadmi Party's win in the Jalandhar by-election is significant for a number of reasons.
Congress had been undefeated in the seat since 1999.
It helps AAP undo the perception created by the Sangrur bypoll last year that it had become unpopular in Punjab.
Despite its 92/117 sweep, it hadn't done well in the 2022 Assembly elections in Jalandhar district. Congress had won five seats while AAP had won four.
AAP can present it as a referendum on its performance. This includes its welfare measures as well as the recent crackdown on Amritpal Singh and Waris Punjab De.
This article will look at two aspects.
What are the reasons behind AAP's victory?
Who is the hidden winner in this election?
The Reasons Behind AAP's Victory
1. Crucial Inductions
AAP important a candidate from the Congress in the seat. It fielded Sushil Kumar Rinku, the defeated Congress candidate from the Jalandhar West Assembly constituency.
It also brought on board Dalit leader Chandan Grewal and influential Akali leader from Jalandhar Cantonment Jagbir Brar. It also inducted Mohinder Bhagat from the BJP who has some influence in the Bhagat community.
2. Micromanagement by Harpal Cheema and Sandeep Pathak
The AAP campaign was micromanaged by finance minister and Dalit face Harpal Cheema and its general secretary-organisation Sandeep Pathak.
They deployed a great deal of resources and cadres and ensured that no part of the seat gets left out.
3. Length of the Campaign
The campaign lasted almost 50 days. And this gave ample time to the government to ensure smooth implementation of welfare schemes on the ground and also address the party's organisational shortcomings.
4. Voters took a Pragmatic Call
AAP led in 7 out of 9 Assembly segments that lie in Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat. Many voters took a practical call to vote for AAP as they felt that if they reject the ruling party once again, it would become difficult for them to get work done.
It must be remembered that for the past two decades, Punjab has a history of the ruling party having an advantage in bypolls. The Sangrur bypoll result could have been an emotional reaction following the killing of Sidhu Moose Wala.
5. Shift of a Section of Congress Votes
Though the Congress ran an aggressive campaign and fielded the widow of late MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary, its prospects were harmed by the shift of a section of voters away from it due to practical considerations of getting work done from the state government.
Who is the Hidden Winner?
Though AAP won Jalandhar with a comfortable margin, the seat also has a hidden winner. This is the BJP.
The BJP led in two Assembly segments - Jalandhar Central and Jalandhar North. Both are completely urban seats and dominated by Upper Caste Hindu voters.
Both seats are held by the Congress presently.
The BJP came fourth overall with a vote share of 15 percent, behind AAP, Congress and Akali Dal. But being the number one party in two Congress-held segments is a positive sign for the BJP and could potentially reflect the shift of a section of Hindu votes.