Rise and Fall of all the political parties in Punjab.

On: 11 January, 2017

Rise and Fall of all the political parties in Punjab.

The Punjab elections are up ahead. All the political party's leaders are working hard to achieve their goal that is to become the Chief Minister of Punjab. Let's have a look on the rise and fall of all of these parties for a better understanding about their manifestoes and agendas.

  1. Congress:

The well known Congress party (also known as The Indian National Congress) was founded in 28 December, 1885 during the British Raj. Its founders include Allan Octavian Hume (a prominent member of the Theosophical Society), Dadabhai Naoroji and Dinshaw Wacha. In the late nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth century, Congress became a pivotal participant in the Indian independence movement, with over 15 million members and over 70 million participants in its opposition to British colonial rule in India. After independence of India in 1947, Mahatma Gandhi asked the leaders to dissolve Indian National Congress and form new organisation to govern the nation.

After independence in 1947, Congress became India's dominant political party; as of 2015, in the 15 general elections since independence, it has won an outright majority on six occasions and has led the ruling coalition a further four times, heading the central government for 49 years. There have been seven Congress Prime Ministers, the first being Jawaharlal Nehru (1947–64), and the most recent Manmohan Singh (2004–14). The party's social liberal platform is generally considered to be on the centre-left of Indian politics.

In 1966 the Congress elected Indira Gandhi as leader over Morarji Desai. In 1967, following a poor performance in the general election, Indira Gandhi started moving towards the political left. In 1969, she was in dispute with senior party leaders on a number of issues; the party president S. Nijalingappa expelled her from the Congress.  Gandhi launched her own faction of the IRC, retaining the support of most of the Congress MPs, 65 of which supported the original party.

In January 1980, following a landslide victory for the Congress (I), she was again elected prime minister. The national election commission declared Congress (I) to be the real Indian National Congress for 1984 general election. During Gandhi's new term as prime minister, her youngest son Sanjay died in an aeroplane crash in June 1980. This led her to encourage her elder son Rajiv, who was working as a pilot, to enter politics. Gradually, Indira Gandhi's politics and outlook grew more authoritarian and autocratic, and she became the central figure of the Congress. As prime minister, she became known for her political ruthlessness and unprecedented centralisation of power.

Gandhi's term as prime minister also saw increasing turmoil in Punjab with demands for Sikh autonomy by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his militant followers. In 1983, they headquartered themselves in the Golden Temple in Amritsar and started accumulating weapons.[72] In June 1984, after several futile negotiations, Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to enter the Golden Temple to establish control over the temple complex and remove Bhindranwale and his armed followers. This event is known as Operation Blue Star.

On 31 October 1984, two of Gandhi's bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, shot her with their service weapons in the garden of the prime minister's residence in response to her authorisation of Operation Blue Star. Gandhi was due to be interviewed by the British actor Peter Ustinov, who was filming a documentary for Irish television. Her assassination prompted the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, during which more than 3,000 people were killed.

In 1984, Indira Gandhi's son Rajiv Gandhi became nominal head of the Congress and became prime minister upon her assassination. In December, he led the Congress to a landslide victory, in which it secured 401 seats in the legislature. Rajiv Gandhi's attempts to discourage separatist movements in Punjab and Kashmir backfired. After his government became embroiled in several financial scandals, his leadership became increasingly ineffectual.

On 21 May 1991, Gandhi was killed by a bomb concealed in a basket of flowers carried by a woman associated with the Tamil Tigers. He was campaigning in Tamil Nadu for upcoming parliamentary elections. In 1998, an Indian court convicted 26 people in the conspiracy to assassinate Gandhi. The conspirators, who consisted of Tamil militants from Sri Lanka and their Indian allies, had sought revenge against Gandhi because the Indian troops he sent to Sri Lanka in 1987 to help enforce a peace accord there had fought with Tamil separatist guerrillas.

Rajiv Gandhi was succeeded as party leader by P. V. Narasimha Rao, who was elected prime minister in June 1991. His rise to the prime ministership was politically significant because he was the first holder of this office from South India. He is often referred to as the "father of Indian economic reforms". Future prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh continued the economic reform policies begun by Rao's government.

In the 1998 general election, the Congress won 141 seats in the Lok Sabha, its lowest tally until then. To boost its popularity and improve its performance in the forthcoming election, Congress leaders urged Sonia Gandhi – widow of Rajiv Gandhi – to assume the leadership of the party. Sonia Gandhi's appointment initially failed to have an impact; in the snap polls called by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in 1999, the Congress won 114 seats – its lowest tally ever.

By the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the party had lost much of its popular support, mainly because of several years of poor economic conditions in the country and growing discontent over a series of corruption allegations involving government officials, including the 2G spectrum scam and the Indian coal allocation scam. The Congress won only 44 seats, which was its worst-ever performance in a national election that brought into question whether it would continue to be identified as an officially recognized party.

  1. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP):

The Bharatiya Janata Party (translated as Indian people's party) is one of the two major political parties in India, along with the Indian National Congress. As of 2017, it is the country's largest political party in terms of representation in the national parliament and state assemblies, and it is the world's largest party in terms of primary membership. The BJP is a right-wing party, with close ideological and organisational links to the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The BJP's origins lie in the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, formed in 1951 by Syama Prasad Mookerjee. After the State of Emergency in 1977, the Jana Sangh merged with several other parties to form the Janata Party; it defeated the incumbent Congress party in the 1977 general election. After three years in power, the Janata party dissolved in 1980 with the members of the erstwhile Jana Sangh reconvening to form the BJP. Although initially unsuccessful, winning only two seats in the 1984 general election, it grew in strength on the back of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. Following victories in several state elections and better performances in national elections, the BJP became the largest party in the parliament in 1996; however, it lacked a majority in the lower house of Parliament, and its government lasted only 13 days.

After the 1998 general election, the BJP-led coalition known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) formed a government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for a year. Following fresh elections, the NDA government, again headed by Vajpayee, lasted for a full term in office; this was the first non-Congress government to do so. In the 2004 general election, the NDA suffered an unexpected defeat, and for the next ten years the BJP was the principal opposition party. Long time Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi led it to a landslide victory in the 2014 general election. Since that election, Modi leads the NDA government as Prime Minister and as of August 2017, the alliance governs 15 states.

The official ideology of the BJP is "integral humanism", first formulated by Deendayal Upadhyaya in 1965. The party expresses a commitment to Hindutva, and its policy has historically reflected Hindu nationalist positions. The BJP advocates social conservatism and a foreign policy centred on nationalist principles. Its key issues have included the abrogation of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the building of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and the implementation of a uniform civil code. However, the 1998–2004 NDA government did not pursue any of these controversial issues. It instead focused on a largely neoliberal economic policy prioritising globalisation and economic growth over social welfare.

The failure of Vajpayee's moderate strategy led to a shift in the ideology of the party toward a policy of more hardline Hindu nationalism. In 1984, Advani was appointed president of the party, and under him it became the political voice of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. In the early 1980s, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) began a campaign for the construction of a temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Rama at the site of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. The mosque had been constructed by the Mughal Emperor Babur in 1527. There is a dispute about whether a temple once stood there. The agitation was on the basis of the belief that the site was the birthplace of Rama, and that a temple had been demolished to construct the mosque. The BJP threw its support behind this campaign, and made it a part of their election platform. It won 86 Lok Sabha seats in 1989, a tally which made its support crucial to the National Front government of V. P. Singh.

In September 1990, Advani began a rath yatra (chariot journey) to Ayodhya in support of the Ram temple movement. According to Guha, the imagery employed by the yatra was "religious, allusive, militant, masculine, and anti-Muslim", and the speeches delivered by Advani during the yatra accused the government of appeasing Muslims and practising "pseudo-secularism" that obstructed the legitimate aspirations of Hindus. On 6 December 1992, the RSS and its affiliates organised a rally involving more than 100,000 VHP and BJP activists at the site of the mosque. Under circumstances that are not entirely clear, the rally developed into a frenzied attack that ended with the demolition of the mosque. Over the following weeks, waves of violence between Hindus and Muslims erupted all over the country, killing over 2,000 people.

The BJP contested the elections leading a coalition called the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which contained its existing allies like the Samata Party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Shiv Sena in addition to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Biju Janata Dal. Among these regional parties, the Shiv Sena was the only one which had an ideology similar to the BJP.

On 27 February 2002, a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was burned outside the town of Godhra, killing 59 people. The incident was seen as an attack upon Hindus, and sparked off massive anti-Muslim violence across the state of Gujarat that lasted several weeks. The death toll estimated was as high as 2000, while 150,000 were displaced. Rape, mutilation, and torture were also widespread. The then-Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and several high-ranking government officials were accused of initiating and condoning the violence, as were police officers who allegedly directed the rioters and gave them lists of Muslim-owned properties. In April 2009, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was appointed by the Supreme Court to investigate and expedite the Gujarat riots cases. In 2012, Modi was cleared of complicity in the violence by the SIT and BJP MLA Maya Kodnani.

In the 2014 Indian general election, the BJP won 282 seats, leading the NDA to a tally of 336 seats in the 543-seat Lok Sabha. The BJP parliamentary leader Narendra Modi was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India on 26 May 2014. Political analysts have suggested several reasons for this victory, including the popularity of Narendra Modi, the prime-ministerial candidate of the BJP, and the loss of support for the Congress due to the corruption scandals in its previous term. The BJP was also able to expand its traditionally upper-caste, upper-class support base and received significant support from middle-class and Dalit people, as well as among Other Backward Classes. Its support among Muslims remained low; only 8% of Muslim voters voted for the BJP.

The BJP's Hindutva ideology has been reflected in many of its government policies. It supports the construction of the Ram temple at the site of the Babri Mosque. This issue was its major poll plank in the 1991 general elections. However, the demolition of the mosque during a BJP rally in 1992 resulted in a backlash against it, leading to a decline of the temple's prominence in its agenda.

Compared to the Congress, the BJP takes a more aggressive and nationalistic position on defence policy and terrorism. The Vajpayee-led NDA government carried out nuclear weapons tests, and enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which later came under heavy criticism. It also deployed troops to evict infiltrators from Kargil, and supported the United State's War on Terror.

BJP's so called Modi government is now known for 2 major factors i.e. Surgical Strike and Demonetization of old 500 and 1000 Rs. notes. People have supported and praised these steps taken by PM Narendra Modi.

  1. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP):

It all started from the Anna Hazare movement for eradication of corruption and the insatiable desire of Anna to compel the Congress to pass the Jan-Lokpal Bill. The movement died a slow death but the seeds of a corruption-free society had already been sown by the movement.

Enter Arvind Kejriwal, Anna Hazare's closest associate from the Jan-Lokpal movement. Arvind sensed the need for eradication of corruption as much as Anna did, only difference being the methodology he adopted by directly entering politics to gift the people of his country a 3rd option beyond the usual facades of Congress and BJP. Arvind Kejriwal did so with the integration and launch of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), combining a few other trusted members who share his pledge of corruption eradication.

In an interview to the Open magazine published in early November 2013, Delhi CM confidently put forward her views that AAP was not even on the Congress radar. In another interview to Tehelka, Ms. Dikshit said, “My reaction to the Aam Aadmi Party is nothing..absolutely nothing.” By the time Congress acknowledged and geared up to the threat from the AAP, it had limited options to react due to time constraints; yet the ruling party ordered a probe into the foreign funding sources of AAP.

The BJP also took notice of the AAP threat only six weeks before the election and projected Dr. Harsh Vardhan as its Delhi Chief Ministerial candidate due to his clean image. The motive behind this move by BJP lies in the fact that it dawned on them slightly late, that AAP was no pushover and couldn't be under-estimated.

The fact that AAP wasn't taken seriously by its opponents/competitors worked to its advantage and allowed it to go about building itself right from scratch and spread its wings eventually in Delhi. Garnering 28 seats in an impressive debut, the Aam Aadmi Party came close to scripting a political history by finishing second in 20 of the 70-seat Assembly, losing some of them with only a narrow margin.

AAP has its support from the former law minister, Shanti Bhusan of about INR 10 million. On 18th May 2013 AAP also had its extended support from 20 different cities of USA. Even though later on Prashant Bhushan (father of Shanti Bhushan) was removed from the PAC of AAP with a reason by AAP saying the Prashant Bhushan with Yogendra Yadav tried to defeat the party in 2015 Delhi Vidhan Sabha elections. However AAP manage to win majority seats in the 2015 Vidhan Sabha elections. AAP receives a lot of donations from India and there are thousands of volunteers working for AAP on ground and on social media too.

The party’s main objective lays on JanLokpal Bill which clearly rules out the wicked atrocities of Indian system ‘CORRUPTION’. Besides this the founder Arvind Kejriwal, is an engineer graduated from IIT. If the government tends to function under educated and genuine individual then it posses maximum assurance of development. This has been proved in the initial period of his term by cutting down eleccricity and water charges, eradicating black marketing from ration shops through the smart way i.e introduction of biometric systems. This was just a part of the initial development in his tenure. He urges to his beloved voters that the progress is much more yet to approach.

         Achievements of AAP Government after forming Government in 2015:

  1. Removal of red beacons and end of VIP culture which has a great impact in Indian Politics.
  2. Electricity prices reduced by 50% for up to 400 units of consumption.
  3. 20,000 litres of free water per month per connection to citizens of Delhi NCR.
  4. 300+ night shelters for the homeless has been established.
  5. CAG audit of power discoms ordered by AAP government.
  6. In Delhi Jal Board, 800 employees transferred, 3 suspended for corruption.
  7. Anti-corruption helpline 1031 started which has a huge impact on Delhi NCR.
  8. Nursery admission helpline started.
  9. Inspection of 500+ govt schools by volunteers completed and personally deputy CM Manish Sisodia has inspected a school.
  10. 36000 contract jobs were made permanent which benefited around 1,80,000 people.

               AAP -This political party was formed 3 years ago but it has a great impact on Indian      politics because this party grew and rised very faster when compared to the other political       parties and this party has an image of the the cleanest party in the Indian politics.

  1. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD):

The Shiromani Akali Dal is a Sikhism-centric political party in India. There are a large number of parties with the name "Shiromani Akali Dal". The party recognised as "Shiromani Akali Dal" by the Election Commission of India is the one led by Sukhbir Singh Badal. It controls Sikh religious bodies Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and is the largest and most influential Sikh political party worldwide. The basic philosophy of Akali Dal is to give political voice to Sikh issues and it believes that religion and politics go hand in hand.

Akali Dal was formed on 14 December 1920 as a task force of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, the Sikh religious body. The Akali Dal considers itself the principal representative of Sikhs. Sardar Sarmukh Singh Chubbal was the first president of a unified proper Akali Dal, but it became popular under Master Tara Singh. The party launched the Punjabi Suba movement, demanding a state with majority of Punjabi speaking people, out of undivided East Punjab under the leadership of Sant Fateh Singh. In 1966, the present Punjab was formed. Akali Dal came to power in the new Punjab, but early governments didn't live long due to internal conflicts and power struggles within the party. Later, party strengthened and party governments completed full term.

The current Punjab government is formed by Akali Dal in partnership with its regional and national ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It has 59 members in Punjab Legislative Assembly and combined with 12 of BJP, forms a majority government. Akali Dal has absolute majority since 2015. Party patron and ex-president Parkash Singh Badal is the Chief Minister of Punjab and the party president Sukhbir Singh Badal is deputy-chief minister. The party has 4 members in the Lok Sabha. Party's main political opponent is Indian National Congress. In the recent Delhi Assembly elections it did not retain the one seat it held in 2013 elections.