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For the first time the state will see a five front battle to elect the CM for the next five years.
 
Punjab is all set to go into polls on the 14th of February but that is not what makes these elections so special. The fact that makes the 16th Vidhan Sabha elections unique is that this is for the first time since 1996 that the state will see an election other than the usual bi-frontier fight. 
 
The elections will revolve across the—
·      PM Security Breach: The Wednesday incident has altered the political narrative of the state and shall play a pivotal role. This incident has given the BJP a cane to beat Congress with. This may reflect with the trademark values of the BJP that always call for the urban Hindu population. 
 
·      Drugs: The drug issue is the most prevalent issue in the political landscape of Punjab. This has been brough to the limelight after the recent arrest of MLA Bikram Majithia. The Channi led government is now terming action by terming the FIR against Majithia as a turning point in the drug nexus of Punjab.
 
·      Sacrilege: The 2015 incident of derogation of Guru Granth Sahib which brought down the toll of SAD down in the 2017 elections may haunt the congress this time. IG Kunwar Vijay Pratap, who oversaw the investigation in the sacrilege case, has now joined the AAP and is contesting from Amritsar North.
 
·      Farmer’s Issue: After the yearlong agitated confrontation at the Delhi Border, against the repealed farm laws, it would play a pivotal role in the polls. With the Channi government promising to meet all the demands of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, the farmers are still unhappy as only half the demands have been met and the state has failed to supply adequate DAP fertilizers.
 
The battleground comprises of three prominent regions—Majha, Malwa, Doaba.
 
The southernmost region of the state, Malwa comprises of 15 districts and is the most important region as it paves the way for any party in the assembly. As a traditional ground for Akali Dal, post 2017 elections the party shrunk to 8 seats as the Congress won 40. The new player AAP won 18 seats in the part which contributed to its 20 seats win.
 
Doaba the region bound between two rivers, has 4 districts. The region has a SC population of 25-75% per seat. Traditionally this is a forte of Congress. In 2017, the party won 15 seats, SAD 5, and the AAP 2 seats in the region. As a smart player, the SAD has formed an alliance with the BSP to get the vote bank of the SC community.
 
Majha, the region has 25 constituencies and 4 districts and is a strong ground for the SAD and Congress. In the last assembly polls, Congress made a clean sweep by bagging 22 seats and the SAD was confined to just two. 
 
The state for the first time will see a five front battle to elect the CM for the next five years. This time the question is will the state elect an independent party or a coalition like usual. 
 
The BJP for the first time in 25 years will contest without its ally the Akali Dal after the later parted ways with the former over the farm bills last year. This time the fight comes with high stakes for the party after the farm bills were formed and revoked. The party has formed an alliance with the newly created Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s SAD(sanyukt). The party juggles between hope and logic in the state. The party has shown its inclination towards the Sikh community by bringing in Sikh political members of other parties including 2 sitting MLAs from Congress.
 
A proactive player, in the game Congress has been a strong competitor in the state for the last 70 years, won the 2017 elections with nearly 77 seats in hand. However, ever since the ongoing political drama unveiled, it’s a hamstring for the party. CM Channi and Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu, as ambitious players are hung in a tug of war for the 2022 assembly elections. The party upon changing the CM face, brought in a Dalit CM for the first time to replace Captain Amarinder Singh. With his fast-paced work and a good repo with the public, his efforts have all gone down the drain because of the infighting. The party shall have no one to blame this time for its downfall.
 
Formed because of an anti-corruption movement in 2012, Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP showed its face in the state by contesting the 2014 elections which got the party 4 Lok Sabha seats out of the contested 432 and earning 25% vote share. Breaking the bi-frontier fight in the state, the party bagged 20 seats pushing the SAD to the 3rd position. Under the ‘mauka’ seeking leader Arvind Kejriwal, this party is making a new comeback with the trademark “Freebie” strategy.
 
For the first time, the SAD shall not contest the assembly elections with its 25 years ally, the BJP. The party parted its way after the farm laws were introduced last year. Instead, this time the party is going forward with Mayavati’s Bahujan Samajwadi party with an agreement on 20 seats. Battling the high waves, and post the 2015 sacrilege incident, the party has made an early start with 93 seats. Unlike its trademark the party is focusing on the urban electorate this time.
 
Formed by Captain Amarinder Singh post his resignation in 2021, the Punjab Lok Congress is yet to establish itself on the electoral landscape of Punjab. After talks with the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, a ray of hope has been instantiated as it can be a nuisance for Congress in the state. 

This time the question is will the state elect an independent party or a coalition like usual?

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