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Angry Captain, angrier farmers may end up helping Arvind Kejriwal, here's how

   With former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announcing the formation of a new party and the central government clashing with protesting farmers' unions, Arvind Kejriwal may benefit in the upcoming Punjab elections.
Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has refuelled the election vehicle in the state. He has announced floating a new party to contest the upcoming assembly polls with or without allying with other like-minded parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Captain Amarinder is angry with the ruling Congress and looking to settle a score with the party and its top leadership for the "humiliation" that he suffered at their hands before resigning as the Punjab chief minister in September. The Congress leadership preferred cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, a four-year-old in the party, over a veteran soldier-turned-politician, two-time chief minister and a friend of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has refuelled the election vehicle in the state. He has announced floating a new party to contest the upcoming assembly polls with or without allying with other like-minded parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).Captain Amarinder is angry with the ruling Congress and looking to settle a score with the party and its top leadership for the "humiliation" that he suffered at their hands before resigning as the Punjab chief minister in September. The Congress leadership preferred cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, a four-year-old in the party, over a veteran soldier-turned-politician, two-time chief minister and a friend of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
TO BJP, CONDITIONS APPLY
When Amarinder Singh decided to quit the Congress in September, there was speculation about his possible entry into the BJP. He dismissed the suggestion, leaving the scope for a tie-up with the BJP that lost its oldest ally - the SAD - from Punjab. Three weeks later, Amarinder Singh has set a condition for an alliance with the BJP.
"[I am] hopeful of a seat arrangement with BJP in 2022 Punjab polls if farmers' protest is resolved in farmers' interest," Amarinder Singh was quoted as saying by Thukral.
He also said, "[I am] also looking at an alliance with like-minded parties - Akali groups, particularly [Parminder Singh] Dhindsa and Brahmpura."
Parminder Singh Dhindsa is an MLA in Punjab and the son of rebel SAD leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who earlier this year announced to merge his Shiromani Akali Dal (Democratic) with another SAD breakaway faction, Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali) of Ranjit Singh Brahmpura.
Responding to Amarinder Singh's proposal for an alliance in the Punjab Assembly election, Brahmpura did not look very enthusiastic. Amarinder Singh is still a Congress member and his offer has too many ifs and buts, Brahmpura told a TV news channel.
WILL FARMERS MOVE?
This leaves Amarinder Singh's alliance with the BJP subject to the resolution of the farmers' issue. The BJP-led central government and the protesting farmers' unions have been in a deadlock for several months on the issue of the three farm laws passed by Parliament in 2020. The laws stand stayed and protesting farmers stayed put at the Delhi borders.
A breakthrough looks unlikely unless Amarinder Singh plays the icebreaker. He is said to have considerable influence over Jat farmers, having been the president of All India Jat Maha Sabha in the past. Amarinder Singh did not hint whether he would play that role of mediator. All mediation attempts have failed till now.
If farmers' protest remains unresolved and Amarinder Singh contests the Punjab Assembly election without an alliance with the BJP, it would make the state polls a multi-cornered contest.
CONGRESS VERSUS ALL + CAPTAIN
The ruling Congress - with factions led by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Punjab Congress chief Sidhu - will have to fight its electoral battle with the SAD, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the BJP and Captain's outfit.Of all these parties, the AAP of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has made huge progress in Punjab. In the 2017 Punjab election, the AAP emerged as the second-largest party, pushing the SAD-BJP combine to the third position.
HOW AMARINDER MAY HELP KEJRIWAL- The BJP's performance in the Punjab polls has not been impressive. Its vote share has declined from 8.21 per cent in 2007 to 7.13 per cent in 2012 and finally to 5.4 per cent in 2017. The BJP won just three of 23 seats it contested in 2017. This makes Amarinder Singh an influential player in the upcoming Punjab Assembly polls.Amarinder Singh's outfit is likely to eat into the votes of both the Congress and the SAD. With the BJP not having a solid organisational base in Punjab, the more votes that Amarinder Singh pulls away, the greater benefit would come to Arvind Kejriwal's AAP in the Punjab polls. Angry farmers may just add on to the voting mass of the AAP.

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