Infighting in Punjab's main Opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the politically-active Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is giving the ruling Congress in the State a happy-hours' feeling.
Congress sits pretty as AAP, Akali Dal grapple with infighting
The AAP's Punjab unit is in a complete disarray -- be it the leadership crisis, having no political direction or agenda or the complete disillusionment of its cadre. With the recent suspension of senior leaders and legislators Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Kanwar Sandhu for ‘anti-party activities and indiscipline’, the AAP Central leadership has once again ended up shooting itself in the foot.
Both Khaira and Sandhu had been politically vocal on issues concerning Punjab and the AAP state unit and the party's central leadership decided to cut them to size.
The AAP, which was touted to be a strong contender to win Assembly elections in February 2017, finished second as the main Opposition party with 20 legislators in the 117-member assembly.
The AAP's performance was commendable since it was the party's very first outing in Assembly polls and it managed to push the SAD-BJP alliance, the traditional political rival of the Congress and which ruled Punjab for 10 years (2007-2017), to the third slot in the Assembly. It is not the first time that the AAP Central leadership has committed political harakiri with the Punjab unit.
The leadership of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, the son of veteran Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal, is being challenged by a growing number of senior party leaders.
The senior Akali leaders, known in Punjab as the ‘Taksali’ leaders, are generally upset the with the wayward manner in which the second oldest political party (SAD) is being managed. Not surprisingly, as the infighting in AAP and the SAD grows, the Congress is sitting pretty.