Thursday, May 23, 2024

Punjab Lok Sabha Election: Guaranteed price, unemployment key issues in Punjab

Sunil eyes

Polling for all thirteen Lok Sabha seats will be held in Punjab on June 1, where Congress and Aam Aadmi Party of India Alliance have come face to face. Interestingly, both the parties are fighting hand in hand against the NDA in Goa, Gujarat and Haryana, including the capital Delhi. In the last Lok Sabha elections, Congress had won eight seats in this state. BJP and Akali Dal had to settle for two seats each, while the ruling Aam Aadmi Party had to settle for a single seat. Incumbent Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had won from Sangrur constituency then. Later on he was elected as Chief Minister and he resigned from MP. The Aam Aadmi Party had to accept a shocking defeat from the Akali Dal in the by-election held on that seat.

This time Aam Aadmi Party has set a target of winning at least ten out of thirteen seats. Although it is true that he will fight against Congress candidates, BJP and Akali Dal candidates have also entered the fray. Therefore, four-way contests have become inevitable in all the constituencies of Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar, Khadur Sahib, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Faridkot, Anandpur Sahib, Ferozepur, Sangrur, Bathinda and Patiala.

With all the four major parties announcing their candidates, the campaign has started to heat up. BJP is contesting all the seats from this state for the first time. Earlier, when BJP was in alliance with Akali Dal, it had to settle for three to four seats. This time, BJP has divided all constituencies according to the probability of winning and distributed tickets accordingly. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are campaigning in Punjab, so there is an atmosphere of excitement among BJP workers. BJP has played the Hindu card by fielding Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi in Ferozepur and Arvind Khanna from the prestigious Sangrur constituency. In both these places, the number of Hindu votes is significant. So BJP is confident of victory here.

In Punjab, unemployment and guarantee price for agricultural products seem to be the main issues at this time. The ruling government has not been able to solve the issue of unemployment. Therefore, the opposition has started to surround the Aam Aadmi Party. Congress has brought the issues of national inflation along with farmers' displeasure in the campaign. Due to huge production of agricultural produce in Punjab, 20 lakh farmers are agitating for guaranteed price. Farmer leaders have taken the stand that they will vote for the party which will solve this key issue of ours. Akali Dal had left BJP over this issue.

However, day by day it is seen that this party is becoming ineffective in this state. At this time, the Akali Dal has also expressed displeasure over the candidature. Another feature of the campaign is the Congress' emphasis on avoiding direct criticism of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Collective disillusionment of farmers

Farmers' anger has gone to such extremes that it has become difficult for candidates of most political parties to even campaign. As soon as the farmers asked about the guarantee price, the candidates did not have an answer. Candidates seem to be killing time by making empty promises. Farmers have also realized this now. Congress has included this issue in its manifesto. However, farmers have no faith left in any party. As soon as the Mann government came to power, it had announced to waive the farmers' loans. It remains on paper. The topic of unemployment is becoming hot for Jodi. Frustrated by unemployment, the youth is getting involved in drug addiction. This has also become a major issue in this election.

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