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Liberal Opinion: Will Punjab witness a direct contest between INDIA and NDA in 2024?

Will Punjab witness a direct contest between two alliances in the ensuing general elections?

It is a million rupee question being asked in political circles here! After a complete and successful understanding between councillors of AAP and Congress in the Chandigarh Mayoral elections, the impression that the two political parties, will in their larger interest of defeating BJP-led NDA alliance come together for the 2024 electoral battle.
This belief gets credence amidst speculations that both BJP and SAD are in negotiations to revive their old alliance for the Lok Sabha polls. Also there is a possibility that BJP-SAD alliance, if formalized in coming days, will have an additional collaborator in BSP.

Insiders, close to both BJP and SAD maintain that if negotiations for revival of alliance are successful, seats adjustment may be a spoiler as BJP will ask for minimum
Of six against its traditional share of three. With 12 seats shared by both BJP and BSP, the 13th seat may go to BSP to ensure that there is a direct contest between AAP-led INDIA alliance and BJP led NDA in Punjab.

During the past few days I had been travelling in Punjab to understand the ground realities on the eve of a major electoral battle. Though there is not much to talk or write about except that the Shiromani Akali Dal fighting a grim battle for a comeback, the State continues to grapple with other serious problems. All the State and National highways are mainly dotted with huge hoardings and flex boards  promising youngsters visas and educational openings overseas. These hoardings are on the rise even after Canada has started tightening its immigration policies and educational visa programmes.Political activity is yet to pick up. In the border belt of Gurdaspur which is currently represented by Bollywood star Sunny Deol on BJP ticket, chances of change of candidate cannot be curled out in Gurdaspur.

As of today, picture is still not clear. Confusion prevails  as some of the parties are known to be sworn enemies. That include Congress and SAD. Same may be true of BJP and BSP. But insiders maintain that in the larger interests of their survival, some of the parties aftervtheircrecentvyearvreverses have no choice but to forge alliances for their own survival. Coming couple of weeks will make the picture before the Election Commission takes over the control and model code of conduct is enforced.

(Prabhjot Singh is a veteran journalist with over three decades of experience of 14 years with Reuters News and 30 years with The Tribune Group, covering a wide spectrum of subjects and stories. He has covered Punjab and Sikh affairs for more than three decades besides covering seven Olympics and several major sporting events and hosting TV shows.)

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