3 reasons Kejriwal will be a terrible choice as Punjab CM

Kumar Shakti Shekhar
Kumar Shakti ShekharApr 08, 2016 | 19:40

3 reasons Kejriwal will be a terrible choice as Punjab CM

If not a problem of plenty, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to face at least a problem or two in the coming months. After pulling off a surprise in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when it won four seats - all from Punjab - the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seems to be preparing itself for a landslide victory in the Assembly elections in the state to be held in early-2017.


A joint survey by The Huffington Post and CVoter has projected an almost Delhi-like win for the AAP in the Punjab Assembly elections. While the AAP is projected to get 94-100 of the 117 seats, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition is likely to win 6-12 seats, while the Congress is expected to end up with 8-14 seats.

The survey further found that 59 per cent of the respondents wanted Kejriwal to be declared the chief ministerial candidate in Punjab while 51 per cent said they would choose the Delhi chief minister over Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh.

This puts Kejriwal in an enviable position, which is unique and unheard of in Indian politics - while being the incumbent chief minister of a state on the one hand, he is being highly sought after in another state, on the other hand.

But here are four reasons Kejriwal cannot afford to leave his position as the chief minister of Delhi:

1. Strong mandate in Delhi

In the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, the AAP got an unprecedented mandate - polling 47,39,924 votes (54.3 per cent) and winning 67 of the 70 seats. Kejriwal can afford to ignore this kind of a mandate at his and his party's peril. The voters of Delhi will not forgive him if he disappoints them once again. He has already apologised to the voters for resigning as chief minister and letting his government fall in 2014. Kejriwal has pledged not to repeat that folly again. The AAP will face the prospect of losing Delhi in the next Assembly elections if Kejriwal moves to Punjab.


After the favourable feedback from Punjab, reports speculated that Kejriwal may move there, leaving the administration of Delhi in the hands of his confidante and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia. However, this is unlikely in light of Kejriwal's bitter experience when he had to profusely and repeatedly apologise to the voters to get another mandate for the 2015 Assembly elections.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal at the Golden Temple, Amritsar in 2015.

2. AAP surge in Punjab

Friends in the AAP point out that the voters in Punjab have already made up their mind in favour of their party. They will vote for the AAP whether or not the party declares any chief ministerial candidate. "What matters for them is the 'jhaadoo' (broom - AAP's election symbol)," they said. This is a big relief for the AAP and it makes Kejriwal's job easier. He need not think of shifting to Punjab in such a scenario.

3. Unacceptability among Sikhs

Even if circumstances force Kejriwal to opt for Punjab, it will not be easy for him to function there. Hailing from Haryana, he is neither a Sikh nor is he well-versed with the Punjabi language and culture. This will make his job extremely difficult. He may not be acceptable to the state which has not seen a non-Sikh chief minister in the last 50 years.

Last updated: April 08, 2016 | 19:46
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