Congress takes 'grand alliance' route to secure Punjab

Congress takes 'grand alliance' route to secure Punjab

Congress takes 'grand alliance'  route to secure Punjab
The apparent resurgence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab ahead of Assembly elections early next year has pushed the Punjab Congress to forge a 'grand alliance' of sorts with secular like-minded parties.

Congress’s poll strategy may be more out of compulsion and less by choice given the apprehension that the AAP may eat into the vote share of both the Congress and the ruling SAD-BJP alliance in the elections. The Congress, which has been out of power for 10 years in Punjab, suffered in the last Assembly elections also because the People's Party of Punjab (PPP) played spoil sport and managed around 6% of vote share although it did not win any seat.

Ever since Capt Amarinder Singh took charge as the Punjab Congress president, the party has managed to bring on board Badal's estranged nephew Manpreet Badal's PPP and the moderate SAD (Longowal) outfit. But the BSP and the Left have so far not shown much zeal to forge an alliance with the Congress in Punjab, even as party strategists are pursuing talks with these parties so that a united face could be put up to oust the ruling combine. The ruling alliance would have faced a decade of anti-incumbency at the time of elections.
 
The Congress out-rightly discounts the foray of the AAP on the political canvas here, but at the same time party leaders have overworked countering the AAP. Both the ruling alliance and the Congress aren't really sure of the AAP's potential in Punjab, which is what makes the main political parties wary of the AAP’s likely groundswell ahead of elections.

The AAP fancies its chances in Punjab, a state where it managed to win 4 MP seats in the general elections amid the Modi-wave that brought the NDA to power in 2014.  The PPP fought against the Congress in the last Assembly elections in 2012. It won no seats, yet the voter percentage of the PPP-combine played spoil sport.
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