Can Akali Dal-BSP Alliance Win 2022 Punjab Assembly Elections?

Shiromani Akali Dal and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi Party announced an alliance for the 2022 Punjab Assembly Elections. Do they stand a chance to win?

While May 2021 was full of victories and disappointments, June 2021 is turning out as a month full of surprises. Right from Mukul Roy joining back TMC to Jitin Prasada joining BJP so much happened.

Usually, we all feel relieved after elections. But now with the news churning out in the public domain, we are already on a roller-coaster ride. Thanks to the elections in 2022 which is going to be a trailer to 2024 Indian General elections.

Punjab is among the 7 states that is going to polls in 2022. Shiromani Akali Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party already sealed an alliance. This is in fact shocking because these two parties have been losing elections since 2014. And that means people are repeatedly rejecting them.

Well, we live in a democracy and we cannot criticize these parties for contesting. But how big are their chances of winning? Or will they make a lasting impact? Let us explore!

Resurgence and Fall of BSP

Mayawati is among the few women leaders in the country. And, she is a national leader with a mass appeal outside Uttar Pradesh. She has some following in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Chhatisgarh, Bihar and Haryana. If at all we were in the early 1990s, I could tell you a few more states too such as Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab.

Yes, the period from 1991 to the early 2000s was the golden era of BSP we can even say. From 1993-1995, she was in an alliance with Samajwadi Party and became a Chief Minister. Even after her fallout with Samajwadi Party, Mayawati formed an alliance with BJP. In 2007, BSP emerged as a single largest party and formed an alliance.

Moreover, in other states like Madhya Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir she had two digit seat counts. Punjab was also the significant one in that. In the 1992 Punjab Assembly Elections, BSP garnered 17 percent of the vote share with 9 sitting MLAs. Obviously by then, it was a reckoning force. As time passed on, the party’s performance deteriorated. In 1997 Punjab Assembly Elections, BSP garnered 13 percent votes and the seat count plunged to 1 from 9. That is still better as in the upcoming elections the party was nowhere.

Is Akali Dal still a reckoning force in Punjab?

In 2012, Akalis broke the anti-incumbency norm in Punjab after 1966 for the first time. Perhaps, Congress’s rule by then in the centre witnessed a series of scams of which 2G was the biggest. We cannot say it was the Modi wave as BJP lost 7 seats from its 2007 tally.

2012 Punjab Assembly Elections also saw the rise of Sukhbir Singh Badal as a prominent leader. This means he is another M K Stalin in the making who is probably taking forward the mantle from his father Parkash Singh Badal.

But, the 2017 Punjab assembly elections portray a different story. This is possibly because of the entry of Aam Aadmi Party which won nearly 23 percent of the votes and 20 seats. Whereas the Akali and BJP combine resorted to 18 seats only.

This means, people were not so happy with 10 years of Akali Dal. Hence, comes the question of whether they would stand a chance to win again. But the 31.9 percent Dalit vote bank seems to be positive factor for this alliance now.

What are the supporting factors for Akali Dal and BSP Alliance now?

According to 2011 census of India, 31.9 percent of the Punjab population is of Scheduled Castes. Therefore, BSP could still be a dormant giant here. Added to this, Mayawati’s women leader appeal and anti-BJP stance is also something that could reportedly attract Punjabi folks to her.

And the Brahmin resurgence taken forward by BJP in Uttar Pradesh could have negative signals in Punjab. However, it is rumoured that BJP is not so keen on Punjab now as the farmer protest already damaged their name significantly. The in-fighting going on within Congress leadership could give brownie points to this alliance.

Now, it is too early to say who would win and who would not. Elections are more than 6 months away now and there is no anti-incumbency wave. The upcoming events are all going to be a deciding factor.

Let’s see, what happens next. Until then, keep reading this space for more exciting updates.

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