The arrest of Congress MLA and office-bearer Sukhpal Singh Khaira right this moment, on fees of drug smuggling and cash laundering, has triggered a bitter three-point squabble in Punjab because the ruling Aam Aadmi Party counters “political vendetta” claims by Mr Khaira’s celebration and assaults from the BJP.
The Congress chief has accused the AAP and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann of being “thirsty for blood”. “I will not be surprised if he gets me physically eliminated also,” he declared.
The AAP authorities has claimed “fresh evidence” – in a 2015 case – led to Mr Khaira’s arrest, and Health Minister Dr Balbir Singh mentioned “law is same for everyone… whichever party member”.
READ | Congress MLA Arrested In Drug Smuggling Case In AAP-Ruled Punjab
The Congress’ state boss Amarinder Warring known as the arrest “an attempt to intimidate the opposition” advert “a ploy of the AAP government…” “We stand strongly with Sukhpal Khaira,” Mr Warring posted on X.
AAP Vs Congress = Bad News For INDIA?
Significant in all that is the truth that whereas AAP and Congress’ regional leaders see themselves as rivals, the events are companions on the nationwide stage; each are members of the INDIA bloc bidding to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in 5 state polls due this 12 months and the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
READ | “Will Contest Polls Together As Far As Possible”: INDIA Bloc’s Resolution
The AAP and the Congress’ nationwide management could also be pulling for the INDIA bloc however Mr Khaira’s arrest has thrown open regional rivalries that might make it tough, if not inconceivable, for the 2 to work collectively, significantly on the marketing campaign path, within the build-up to subsequent 12 months’s normal election.
Ahead of the election, a lot of the speak surrounding INDIA has been on seat-sharing and whether or not the AAP and the Congress can overcome variations to amicably divvy up Punjab’s 13 Lok Sabha seats.
The emphasis is on ‘amicably’ as a result of, to date, state leaders have opposed any try and divide seats.
READ | “No Alliance”: AAP, Congress Leaders Not Keen On INDIA Tie-Up In Punjab
Punjab Minister Anmol Gagan Mann claimed “directions” from the Chief Minister to insist the AAP would contest all 13 seats by itself, and Mr Warring mentioned the Congress would not act “without our consent”.
Mr Khaira’s arrest is critical as a result of he’s a type of most vocal in opposition to any alliance with the AAP within the state. He can be Chairman (at nationwide degree) of the Congress’ Kisan Cell and is subsequently each a celebration office-bearer and lawmaker. The Congress’ central management hasn’t but commented.
Impact On INDIA Bloc Beyond Punjab?
But it is not simply Punjab’s seats which can be in focus. The AAP and Congress have been additionally anticipated to divide seven seats in Delhi and 26 in Gujarat. That is 46 seats – 8.47 per cent of the full accessible.
Importantly, the BJP received 33 of 33 seats in Delhi and Gujarat and 4 of 13 in Punjab. The Congress might have received 8 in Punjab however since then the celebration was additionally routed by the AAP in final 12 months’s state ballot. And the AAP has been beneath heavy hearth by the BJP (and the Congress) since that win.
If the AAP and the Congress cannot overcome Mr Khaira’s arrest and collaborate, then the BJP shall be favorite to win a majority of seats in Punjab and Delhi, and greater than probably sweep Gujarat once more.
READ | As Election Nears, INDIA Seat-Sharing In This State May Be Issue: Sources
The INDIA bloc’s enchantment – a viable and cohesive non-BJP various – is more and more being seen as a problem given rifts like this. The CPIM, for instance, has dominated out seat-sharing in Bengal and Kerala.