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What helped Congress govt of Amarinder Singh in Punjab sweep municipal polls | India News – Times of India

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What helped Congress govt of Amarinder Singh in Punjab sweep municipal polls | India News - Times of India

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NEW DELHI: After several setbacks, the Congress finally had reasons to cheer about after its decisive victory in Punjab municipal elections. However, more than the Congress, it was a win for state chief minister Amarinder Singh who got the benefit of pro-incumbency mood of the voters besides the seething anger against the BJP-led NDA government at the centre for the three farm laws.
The cumulative impact of the two major factors was the thumping victory of the Congress which won six municipal corporations and emerged as the largest party in the seventh. The party was victorious in Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, Bathinda, Batala, Kapurthala and Abohar. In Moga, it emerged as the single-largest party.
The results of the municipal elections are a shot in the arm for the Congress as they come about a year ahead of the assembly elections.
Pro-incumbency mood
The four years of Amarinder Singh government have been free from any major controversy. Even the opposition parties such as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP have not levelled any major charges against the Congress government.
Amarinder, a former Indian Army Captain, seems to have read the mind of the people and has said or taken actions which have been lapped up by them. He has not been seen lagging behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP in adopting nationalist stand on emotive issues such as the Pulwama attack, Nankana Sahib vandalisation incident or any other issue.
Soon after the Pulwama terror attack on February 14, 2019, Amarindwr asked the Modi government to “teach Pakistan a lesson” and reiterated that the “time for talking peace is over”.
His views on several occasions are not in unison with the official Congress stand. He has also not shied away from taking on his own party leaders on issues of nationalism.
For instance, though his then ministerial colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu condemned the Pulwama terror attack on the CRPF convoy, he added that the whole of Pakistan could not be blamed for the actions of a handful people.
When Sidhu was being attacked for his statement, Amarinder too did not spare him. He said Sidhu was a cricketer while he was a soldier and both have different viewpoints on things. Sidhu does not understand defence intricacies and had possibly reacted out of friendly motive. He added.
The Punjab CM has always been seen standing solidly behind the people of his state and defending them. One such incident took place in April last year when about 4,000 pilgrims from Punjab got stranded at Hazur Sahib gurudwara at Nanded in Maharashtra during lockdown in the wake of COVID-19. The Punjab government sent 100 air-conditioned buses to Nanded and rescued all the pilgrims by fighting for permission from the centre as well as the Maharashtra government.
Farmers’ protest
Amarinder has been seen backing the farmers, most of whom are from Punjab followed by other from Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, who have been protesting against the three farm laws of the centre.
In fact, Punjab was the first state in the country to pass a resolution in the assembly opposing the three farm laws. Before the three laws were passed by Parliament in September last year, the centre had got an ordinance promulgated in June. Amarinder opposed them in July.
He has been lending support to the farmers since they started their agitation on the Delhi borders in November last year.
These seem to have significantly helped Amarinder to register an impressive victory in the municipal elections. Congress wrested Hoshiarpur, Pathankot and Bathinda from the erstwhile SAD-BJP combine.
The BJP and SAD contested separately after their alliance broke in the wake of the farm laws. SAD pulled out of the NDA alliance and their representative Harsimrat Kaur Badal in the Modi cabinet resigned from the government.
The anti-Congress votes were divided between SAD, AAP and BJP, thus helping the former.

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