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  India   Politics  31 Jan 2017  Punjab polls: Parties focus on Malwa to decide Chandigarh war

Punjab polls: Parties focus on Malwa to decide Chandigarh war

THE ASIAN AGE. | RAJNISH SHARMA
Published : Jan 31, 2017, 2:02 am IST
Updated : Jan 31, 2017, 6:19 am IST

Akali Dal has already planned the most number of rallies by CM Prakash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal in the Malwa.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal (Photo: PTI)
 Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal (Photo: PTI)

Ludhiana: It is often said in Punjab that the one who wins Malwa rules the state. Punjab is largely divided into three regions, Malwa, Majha and Doaba. Malwa’s political significance can be gauged from the fact that it has as many as 69 of the 117 Assembly segments in the state.

So, it’s not surprising that all three major players in the state elections — the Akali Dal-BJP combine, the Congress and the Aam Admi Party — have thrown their entire might into campaigning in the Malwa region.

The AAP, the recent entrant into Punjab’s political fray, has gone that extra mile by tying up with the local Lok Insaf Party which has a strong network in the region, and its founders, the Bains brothers, Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjit Singh Bains, are both sitting independent MLAs.

AAP’s tieup with the Bains brothers, who have been given five Assembly seats, would also be a shot in the arm for the party as they have considerable clout and goodwill in the region.

Malwa, which includes important districts like Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Muktsar, Faridkot, Moga, Bathinda, Mansa, Sangrur, Patiala, Anandpur Sahib and Fatehgarh Sahib, has traditionally been an Akali stronghold. Being an agricultural belt known for growing quality cotton, farmers have been supporting the Akalis, and it was largely due to their good performance in Malwa that the Akalis retained power in 2012, defying anti-incumbency.

The Congress’ chief ministerial candidate Amarinder Singh has also chalked out an aggressive strategy for the Malwa region and, talking to the media recently, he said, “The farmers and the sizeable dalit population in Malwa that voted for the Akalis last time are extremely unhappy with them. The Congress will sweep the Malwa region this time and form the government.” Mr Singh also said his party’s poll manifesto has focussed especially on the Malwa region.

The Akali Dal has already planned the most number of rallies by chief minister Prakash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in the Malwa belt.

According to Kewal Kishan, a former teacher at a prominent Ludhiana college, the Malwa region is political crucial, more so this time, due to a keen triangular contest. “Like the saying that the one who wins UP, forms the government in Delhi, the same applies to the Malwa belt in Punjab’s context. It was due to Malwa that the Akalis retained power last time while defying all odds. But, this time it appears the contest is more between AAP and Congress, and if of the two sweep the region, they would surely form the government,” he added.

Tags: punjab assembly polls, amarinder singh, prakash singh badal
Location: India, Punjab, Ludhiana