A Lesson in AAP’s Punjab Win – Don't Take Your Gaddi for Granted

How did a mobile repair shop owner beat the CM? How did an activist beat Sidhu? By voters seeking good governance.

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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar

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Yeh Jo India Hai Na, here the people of Punjab have sent a message to the national parties of India. And it’s a very simple message – don’t take your gaddi, your seat, for granted.

Look at the list of losers in the Punjab Assembly elections:

  • Prakash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal, the top Akali leaders – lost

  • Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh – lost

  • Navjot Singh Sidhu, occupied headlines for months – but lost

  • Charanjit Channi, the chief minister, fought in two seats – lost both

In a dramatic sweep, the Aam Aadmi Party won 92 out of 117 seats in the state, that is 80 percent of the seats in the Punjab Assembly.

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Why Did AAP Win Punjab?

But the question is, why. Why did the AAP win Punjab? The single big reason is – frustration, disappointment and anger towards those who have ruled Punjab for decades – the Congress, the Akalis, and the BJP. Be it corruption, be it in-fighting, be it just not doing enough work to improve people’s lives, the voters felt these parties were guilty of all these crimes. So, when an alternative came forward, they went for it.

While the AAP would and should claim credit for their big win, there is an equally big factor of desperation on the part of the Punjab voter.

Labh Singh Ugoke

For instance, look at Labh Singh Ugoke, the AAP candidate who beat Channi by a massive 37,500 votes in Bhadaur.

Labh Singh ran a mobile repair shop, his father was a driver, his mother a sanitary worker at a government school. He was not a traditional politician, had no money or muscle power, and yet he defeated the sitting chief minister.

Even the fact that Channi himself was Punjab’s first Dalit CM did not help him, because the voter simply did not want the Congress. And they wanted the Akalis and BJP even less – those two parties have together won just six seats.

And Captain Amarinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala, who left the Congress in a huff to start his own Punjab Lok Congress, was rejected by Patiala itself, losing there by almost 20,000 votes! His party has won no seats.

Jeevan Jyot Kaur

Then, look at Amritsar, where Jeevan Jyot Kaur defeated Navjot Sidhu – the Punjab Congress chief, and top Akali leader and Sukhbir Badal’s brother-in-law – Bikram Singh Majithia.


Now, who is Jeevan Jyot Kaur? A menstrual hygiene activist, also known as 'pad woman of Punjab'. Again, the voter rejected political reputation, money and muscle for someone with a record in public service.

Garry Birring

Another interesting AAP winner is Garry Birring who won from Amloh. An MBA from Oxford University, Birring ran a makeshift school and library for the children of agitating farmers at the Singhu border.

He, too, is a first-time politician. Clearly, the voters were looking for MLAs with clean slates, clean records.


Simple Rule for AAP

And don’t mistake this for being a pro-AAP analysis. Tomorrow, if the AAP forgets the lessons it has learnt from this election, it may repeat the mistakes made by Punjab’s former leaders. There’s a simple rule that Kejriwal, Bhagwant Mann, and the AAP must remember. Yeh Jo India Hai Na, here don’t take your gaddi for granted.

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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar
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