Towards Consolidation of a Bipolar Polity
Recent elections in Punjab have hardly promised a cataclysmic shift in the basic nature of electoral politics of the state. The gains or losses of the two contending parties – namely Congress and SAD (in long-term alliance with BJP) – have been more in the form of election-related strategies, leadership factors and other developments. If the electoral outcome in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections is to be viewed as the negative vote by the electorates disenchanted with the non-performance of the SAD-BJP government and not the signifier of long-term gains of the Congress, then the unexpected electoral verdict in the 2012 Assembly Elections that witnessed the return to power of the incumbent SAD-BJP regime, showed that late efforts on its part to bring about development, however, did pay electoral dividends. The 2012 assembly elections in Punjab were notable for the emergence of a new set of political leadership, particularly the rise of Sukhbir Badal, the SAD President. The rise and fall of Manpreet Badal, the founder-President of Punjab People’s Party in the role of the ‘challenger’ was another notable feature.
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