Bumpy Road Ahead

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Now everybody knows why Congress was ousted from Punjab, the border state and how a relatively new party like Aam Admi Party came to power with massive majority. Congress is sitting now  licking its wounds in a corner. But, the real responsibility is not with AAP party, its two stalwart leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and newly elected chief minister Bhagwant Mann, an erstwhile comedian. He will now come to know that politics is not a comedy though many comic elements exist there. Mann has too many responsibilities to bring Punjab to heights once it was there. In recent years, Punjab has earned a bad name as state infested with drugs and drugs racket, with nick name Udta Punjab. Mann has to first erase out this image of Punjab and it should reach to erstwhile fame of being a richest state in India. Punjab farmers are still the richest farmers and their per capita income is much more than other farmers of other states. IT has been an unusual week for the border state. The landslide victory of the Aam Aadmi Party, the decimation of the feudal satraps, the endearing and inspiring stories of the new legislators, all of it bears the hallmark of the audacity of Punjab’s hope. From a sense of dejection in the run-up to the February 20 election, there’s an atmosphere of quiet elation and a sense of achievement at the monumental change. The sand has shifted, the powerful have been routed. Even before taking oath, many newly-elected legislators have hit the ground running, visiting hospitals and schools, the fulcrum of AAP’s promise of transformation on the lines of Delhi, and meeting police officials to reiterate the pledge against drugs. Punjab people expect too much from AAP party and especially Mann, but the doubt is whether he will get success in delivering? He has to fight on many fronts at a time and he is new to politics. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has raised the bar with his message to the people to expect visible change within a month; to the party MLAs to forget about Chandigarh and stay put among the constituents to serve them, and to the rank and file to maintain decorum amidst any provocation. A positive start, but the unique challenges that await the party in Punjab would not be lost on Arvind Kejriwal, the astute AAP national convener who can claim legitimate credit for creating tectonic electoral surprises. The plethora of promises in the face of the state’s precarious financial condition would require special delivery skills. Political opponents have been quick to criticise the decisions to hold a victory roadshow in Amritsar and a mega event for the CM’s swearing-in at Khatkar Kalan, but though every new government deserves a shot at celebration after a hard toil, a party like AAP that swears by loftier ideals needs to be mindful of the public sentiment that wants little of the same old thing. A mandate such as this is a testament to what a party inspires in voters, but also of their aspirations and expectations. Good luck to AAP. Congress has no that much strength to fight with AAP in assembly now. And Mann has got so large majority that he does not need to fear from opponents. He must be aware of his own party men. He is taking political lessons now and so he has now to tackle with opponents in his own party. as there was no power, Mann had no enemies. Now he may have to come across them at every step. Therefore, the road ahead for Mann is bumpy. One wrong step and apocalypse is waiting.