UP On The Boil, Punjab In Doldrums

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Interestingly UP and Punjab are currently in news due to different reasons.  While Punjab remains in news because of ruling Congress’s never-ending internal feud, Uttar Pradesh has grabbed the headlines for the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

ajor parties in the country are gearing up for assembly polls in five states early next year. The focus will be on UP and Punjab. Interestingly, both these states are currently in news due to different reasons.  While Punjab remains in news because of ruling Congress’s never-ending internal feud Uttar Pradesh has grabbed the headlines for the Lakhimpur Kheri violence that left four farmers dead. Opposition parties and farmers across the country have erupted in protest in the wake of the incident which has union minister of state for Home, Ajay Mishra and his son Ashish in the dock.

Opposition leaders have demanded immediate resignation of the minister.  As protests intensified Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav was detained as he sat on a dharna outside his residence in Lucknow after police stopped him from going to Lakhimpur Kheri. A police vehicle was set on fire by protesters near the place where Yadav sat on dharna. Earlier in the day, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was detained in the Hargaon police station area.

Eight people, including four farmers, were killed on Sunday as violence erupted during a farmers’ protest in Lakhimpur Kheri. Farmers’ outfits have claimed that a car ferrying Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish ran over a group of protesters. An FIR has been registered against Ashish Mishra. Though compensation has been announced for the families of the deceased the protests are unlikely to subside any time soon.

While UP is on the boil the dissident drama in Punjab ended with the exit of chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh who was replaced with dalit leader Charanjit Singh Channi. But even though Channi became the chief minister with the obvious support of Amarinder-baiter, Navjot Singh Siddhu  the latter recently submitted his resignation as the Punjab Congress chief as he is aggrieved with two important appointments made by Channi.

Given the fact that the state will go to the polls early next year Congress finds itself in a precarious situation in Punjab one of the few states that are still ruled by the party. Considering that Amarinder, a highly respected leader at the national level who wields a lot of influence among voters in Punjab, has made it clear that he is neither going to take his “humiliation” lying down nor is in any hurry to hang his boots, it is clear that the party in the state will continue to be dogged by dissidence. Worse, there is growing speculation about Bhartiya Janata Party wooing him assiduously and if he changes sides it could spell disaster for the Congress in the state in 2022.

For the moment Captain continues to maintain that even though he has parted ways with the Congress he will not join the BJP. At the same time he has sworn revenge against Siddhu asserting that he will not let him win from any constituency in Punjab. It is strange that Congress central leadership is unable to read the writing on the wall in Punjab. Being in the denial mode, however, is not going to change the reality for them in Punjab.

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