CHANDIGARH: Anti-incumbency feelings against the Badal family go back a long way. It’s almost as old as the 10 years of the SAD-BJP government. Besides drugs, law and order, farmer suicides, unemployment and desecration of holy book Guru Granth Sahib were issues which worked against the ruling alliance.
Perception grew that the Badal family for own benefits exploited resources of the State. Sand mining mafia, liquor trade, cable business and transport — the Badals own a huge fleet of buses — there were several allegations.
A major issue that affected equations this time was drugs. Going by an AIIMs report, drugs worth over Rs 7,500 crore are sold every year. Police registered more than 15,000 cases under NDPS Act last year. Capt Amarinder Singh and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal in party manifestos promised that drug addicts would be rehabilitated and peddlers would be put behind bars. It was said that the problem would be eradicated in a month.
Law and order had also become a concern. No arrests were made in the murder of three prominent Hindu leaders. Cases of killing, robbery and eve-teasing were on the rise. There were allegations of circle jathedars of Akalis interfering in police work. Opposition parties were vocal about this.
There were cases of atrocities against dalits and a rise in the number of lives lost in relation to the illegal liquor trade. Punjab has the highest number of dalit voters in India, around 32%. Lack of jobs and land-related problems were other issues.
The opposition blamed the government, which was in power for two terms from 2007, for damaging the economy and doing nothing for farmers and the youth, as unemployment rose.