In winning an election, many factors work. The Congress’s win in Punjab highlights the fact that the party, which has a pan India presence, marked well by projecting Captain Amarinder Singh as its chief ministerial candidate. An experienced and seasoned politician, the Captain had been Chief Minister of Punjab from 2002 to 2007. Despite internal fights within the Congress, this scion of erstwhile royal Patiala state managed to project the Congress as an alternative to the Parkash Singh Badal-headed SAD-BJP government in Punjab. In fact, rise in farmers’ suicide and increase in drug abuse, in which some members of the Badal family were alleged to be involved, and rampant corruption that ruled the roost during 10 years of the SAD-BJP government, gave the Congress party sufficient fodder to target the ruling establishment. People, fed up with the miss-rule of the Badal government, took the Congress seriously and this was the reason why the results favoured the latter than any other political outfit.
Youth, women and farmers were targeted by the Congress to make its victory possible. On the drug menace, the party promised to make Punjab drug free within a month of forming the government; and to rehabilitate the drug victims within six months of forming the government. Its promises to provide Rs 5 lakh worth of cashless health insurance for the poor, creating 25 lakh employment opportunities, making farmers debt-free by December 2018, helped the party in swaying electorates towards the party. In regions like Majha, Doaba and Malwa, the Congress made significant impact on youth and women voters of the state. Even in Malwa, where Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP was expected to do well, the Congress romped home a significant win.
While the SAD-BJP government crumbled under the anti-incumbency wave, it was the AAP that was hoping to become an alternative to the Congress party at the national politics — by taking over Punjab after its win in Delhi. Nonetheless, the Congress must be heaving a sigh of relief that it has managed to stop decimation under the ‘Modi wave’.