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Cong sweep in Punjab, will farmers agitation impact other states?
New Delhi, Feb 17 - The results of the Punjab urban body polls have the stamp of the farmers agitation and have dented several parties badly.
Punjab's Congress Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is elated with the performance. "It was a powerful message to these parties to keep out of Punjab, which was not ready to either forgive or forget the deceit and the treachery to which the people of the state had been subjected by them," he said.
Though Punjab is at the epicentre of the farmers protest and the results bear the imprint of the agitation, the question arises will it replicate in other states and cost the BJP dearly.
In Assam and West Bengal the BJP is a major party. In Assam the party is contesting to retain its government while in West Bengal it is challenging the ruling TMC as the main opponent.
The Congress in Assam has taken an anti-CAA stand. Former party president Rahul Gandhi started his campaign on Sunday with a strong stance against the Act, which is of prime concern in the state. Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi said, "The struggle against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. Congress promises to build a memorial to the anti-CAA movement after winning the election. Assam doesn't want CAA."
In West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerji's main pitch against the BJP is about outsiders and how to save the strong Bengali culture which the BJP is trying to scuttle through its Hindutva agenda.
Congress leader BK Hariprasad who heads the election management in-charge of Bengal said, "farmers are everywhere in the country and the BJP has ditched the farmers. The impact will be seen in the polls and BJP will pay the price of not withdrawing the farm laws. "
Its not only the Congress but the TMC MPs too have opposed the farm laws vehemently.
But observers feel the impact may be marginal and Punjab may be the exception but the swing in favour of the Congress in comparison with the 2015 municipal corporation elections in Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Moga and Pathankot districts is manifest in the fact that from 11 seats back then, the party's tally has improved to a whopping 149 seats.
Now it is evident that if the farmers protest goes pan India, the BJP may have to bear the cost.
The Assembly polls in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry are scheduled in April-May this year. While the BJP is the main party in Assam and West Bengal, it has an alliance with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
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