Chandigarh: Politicians in Punjab seem to be enjoying a five-week holiday thanks to the Election Commission (EC) of India. From relaxing to lobbying to literally doing the math of government formation, everyone is keeping oneself busy with something even as the state government seems to be in sleep mode.
With the election to the 117 assembly seats having been held on Jan 30 and counting and results to take place only on March 6, Punjab's leaders have invented activities to stay occupied. With the main fight in the assembly poll being between the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress, senior leaders from both sides are making their own permutations and combinations on the formation of the next government.
While both sides are claiming victory, the element of uncertainty in their minds is also quite obvious. The Congress camp looks more upbeat about coming to power with senior leaders even getting down to discussing government formation, the probable ministers, the list of bureaucrats who will occupy coveted posts in the new government and so on.
Politicians in Punjab seem to be enjoying a five-week holiday thanks to the Election Commission (EC) of India.
If one has to go by the dinners and number of people calling on him, Punjab Congress president and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh seems to have a definite edge over the others. In fact, at a recent private dinner, an industrialist-politician could be heard asking Amarinder about the date when he would prefer to take oath (as chief minister) next month. Of course, the question only got a laugh from Amarinder.
Senior bureaucrats and police officers too have openly started lining up with him and other Congress leaders. While some are eyeing plum posts, others, who were sidelined in the present Akali Dal government, are seeking rehabilitation.
Amarinder himself has been spending most of his time in Chandigarh and New Delhi in recent days.
In the Akali Dal citadel, leaders claim the results will surprise everyone and the incumbent government will return to power for the first time in over four decades. Being confident of the results, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy chief minister son, Sukhbir Singh Badal, have flown off for a family holiday in South Africa. Badal junior seems to have a special fascination for the country as he has been there earlier also.
Former finance minister and People's Party of Punjab (PPP) president Manpreet Badal, who floated the third front in the state in the assembly elections, has been in New Delhi lately for medical treatment.
Most ministers, legislators and other candidates are ringing the bells of the right quarters to remain in the running for prized ministerial and other responsibilities.