Religion again in the fore, Punjab Lok Sabha elections 2019
Updated:  Oct 12, 2018, 10:10 AM
Lok Sabha elections are scheduled in April-May 2019, just in few month elections will be on the doorsteps. In such a scenario, the issue of religion is once again returned to the center stage of Punjab's politics which will dominate the political discourse.
Back in 2015, before Assembly polls in the State, the sacrilege cases mysteriously increased. People protested against it and the government of that time - of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) alliance, which had been in power since 2007 - reacted to these. They ordered police action which resulted in the death of two person and many injured.
The Congress party which was in opposition tried to take the full advantage of the situation to nail the Akali Dal. The Congress romped home in the Assembly polls with 77 seats in the 117-member Assembly (the Congress strength now is 78 seats after winning another by-election).
A few weeks ago a similar kind of scenario occur, seeking to politically outdo each other in Punjab, the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal held rallies in each other's bastions. But a group of a religious organization organized a protest march; the march was taken out from Kotkapura to Bargari demanding action against those involved in sacrilege.
Ever since the report of the Ranjit Singh Commission was leaked, religion became the dominant theme of Punjab's politics. Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the report on sacrilege incidents of religious scriptures is considered as a major setback for the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The report has suggested then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in a matter attached to the sentiments of Sikhs in Punjab.
The report may work in favour of the ruling Congress as well as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is struggling to revive its identity in Punjab, against the SAD-BJP alliance before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. On the other hand SAD on Tuesday rejected the report claiming it to be the handiwork of the Congress. The report is given much importance by the state government due to the extremely detailed content that was gathered after questioning different civilian, police and other sources.
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