Can we afford to call the Akalis akalmand (intelligent) after they announced their decision to walk out from the NDA? I find their choice and decision to be inconsistent given their penchant for power. On CAA, the Akalis were on the same page as the Centre but they pulled back slightly after sensing the waters in their home state. I believe that the farmers’ bill is an urgent issue for the Akalis to reflect upon as the rural electorate form a sizeable chunk of the Akali vote base.
Apart from it, they form the backbone of Akali cadre and leadership and can’t be offended and ignored at any cost. Sukhbir Singh Badal saw this coming in the beginning but backed out from taking the call. Harsimrat Badal might have resigned from Union Cabinet in the capacity of Food and Processing Minister but as for Mr Badal, he was exploring his options and prospects looking for a preferable deal with the Narendra Modi government at the centre.
It’s okay if BJP loses a few of its allies as their mammoth majority in the Parliament will anyway not allow them to come under any compulsions. It’s okay for them to lose an ambitious Shiv Sena over the issue of Chief Ministership in Maharashtra. Allies might buckle and back out but it would hardly impact the Centre. Earlier, in the coalition dharma during the Vajpayee tenure, there always used to be samvaad (dialogue) and samjhauta (agreement). None of that happens now as allies have become mute and silent spectators abiding by the cabinet consensus.
If not for their power-sharing agreements and adjustments, how can allies be roughshod on important bills and legislations? If so, then what rights do the allies have if not for strategising on their priorities and purpose? How will they react and respond to the concerns and grievances of their electorates? What if their relevance fades and a comeback seems unlikely? The Farm Bill issue is not only a political issue for the Akalis, but a great stakes game.
In the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections, the Akalis faired poorly. AAP, the new entrant in the race, came a distant second by becoming the main opposition debuting with twenty seats in the state. Akalis were left to ponder reduced to single digits which lowered their esteem and morale. They were reasonably made to rethink after their rout if I understand correctly. So, what’s next for the Akalis I am left to wonder.
Well, there are many if they can hit the streets, lead protest movements against farm legislation, mobilize public opinions and passionately arouse sentiments. Conduct your connect with the ground and grass-root for if you would like to politically resurrect yourself. It’s but natural to harbour aspirations and ambitions in politics as one can never let go away from it
Akalis should stand up solidly behind these farmers as I remember the green revolution movement was truly inspiring and made us self sufficient in agricultural production. We can’t see our farmers in such a shape. I hope my message is clear and loud Mr Badal
Hopefully, Akalis will display their Akalmandi pressing for agricultural reforms in the state.