Political discourse takes new turn

Political discourse takes new turn

A giant container in the kitchen, cooking nearly 200 kg of dal everyday in generously poured jugs of desi ghee, is what attracts vegetarians to this popular ‘Keser-da-Dhaba’ in the narrow serpentine lanes of Amritsar.

The many who wait for a place inside this eating joint have enough time to discuss the changing political discourse in Punjab.

Owner Vijay Kumar talks about a palpable change. The joust for power in Punjab is now a tough triangular contest. An alternative also appears no less formidable. “It’s good for the people. They are weighing options,” he says.

Exit capital city Chandigarh straight onto the national highway towards Nawanshehar, Jalandhar and midway towns right up to the holy city Amritsar. A glimpse of the seamless roads (well, at least seamless on most of the stretch) welcomes commuters. The start from new Chandigarh is noteworthy with six-lane roads, bridges, fabulous landscapes, greenery and fancy bird-like streetlights dotting all the way.

The swanky highway is the road leading to Sukhvilla Resorts – a luxury sojourn where Punjab’s first family, the Badals, are said to have a sizeable stake. A decade of rule has pushed in anti-incumbency.

A resurgent Congress and a formidable Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) threaten stakes of the ruling combine facing resentment from people over incidents of sacrilege, unemployment, drugs and more.

A two-hour walk in one of Amritsar’s well-laid gardens, sporting street cricket and later sipping tea at a roadside vend along with a mouthful of kachauris to munch, Navjot Singh Sidhu has added to the election flavour in favour of the Congress, not just in Amritsar, but in Punjab.

He’s a crowd-puller and more relevant than ever before. He’s the anti-Badal face in Punjab elections.

At a hotel banquet on Amrtisar’s Crystal Chowk, BJP candidate Anil Joshi, a cabinet minister, joins a late night party of supporters roaring slogans past midnight. Victory will be candidate-specific on many seats, just like Joshi’s.

The BJP is wary of the impact of demonetisation. Just the other day, Joshi pleaded to his voters not to blame him for note ban.
DH News Service

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