AAP turned up in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections, winning 14 out of 35 wards in the city, and while flashing victory signs, leaders in the party shot off a ‘good-natured’ warning, saying ‘this was the trailer, picture abhi baaki hai‘
In 2016, the BJP had swept the Chandigarh polls, winning a majority 20 out of 26 wards then. It’s tally has fallen significantly, as it won 12 wards, Congress 8, and Shiromani Akali Dal 1.
The Congress has also gained marginally — up from 4 wards in the last polls.
However, in terms of vote share, the Congress secured 29.9 percent votes, a sign of consolidation, while the BJP was at 29.3 percent and AAP at 27.1 percent.
The extent of AAP’s success in Chandigarh
What do these results mean in the context of the upcoming Punjab Elections?
AAP has reason to be confident of making an impact in Punjab, given its debut election result in Chandigarh.
If one looks at the ward-wise results, AAP candidates managed to upset several top-ranking BJP nominees.
This includes sitting BJP Mayor Ravi Kant Sharma, who lost his seat to AAP’s Damanpreet Singh.
Former Mayor Davesh Moudgil also had to make way for AAP’s Jasbir Singh.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, also the AAP’s national convenor, has called the Chandigarh poll results ‘a sign of imminent change in Punjab.’
But does a win in Chandigarh reflect a paradigm shift as many are wont to believe?
Past results are not very conclusive in this regard.
In 2016, the BJP had swept Chandigarh but got swept away in Punjab and a large part of it has to do with religious and linguistic identity.
Nonetheless, the Chandigarh result is still significant because AAP has won a Hindu majority city and may sway the urban Hindu vote in Punjab’s cities.
A declining BJP base and the party that best exploits it may have an upperhand in urban Punjab.