The resignation of Navjot Singh Sidhu as the president of the Punjab unit of the Congress party reflects poorly on its national leadership. The underlying issue however has now evolved to a stage where it’s no longer about the ineptitude of the Congress leadership. There’s a more serious problem that is apparent and it’s about the shortcomings of the entire political process in a border state which a generation ago suffered on account of secessionist violence.
Punjab’s former CM Amarinder Singh was widely regarded as the most powerful of Congress satraps who was dealing with the party’s weakest high command in living memory. In this backdrop, if Amarinder had to leave in ignominy it’s because the party rank and file were under pressure from the electorate. On the issues that triggered the pressure- unresolved sacrilege cases, tardy progress in controlling drug mafia and the inability to find a way out in the farmers’ agitation- there is no political party that has either articulated a meaningful solution or has earned the electorate’s trust. The Sidhu resignation episode is directly linked to the inability to even agree on a way to resolve the underlying issues.
Read also: What may have triggered Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation as Punjab Congress chief
The danger now is that a section of the population may be persuaded to believe that the solutions lie outside the political system. It’s no longer about just the Congress party’s ineptitude.
There is an assembly election ahead in less than six months. The political class should be mindful of the risks at the current juncture and tailor messages in keeping with the situation.
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