Campaigning in Punjab is reaching new lows with leaders cutting across party lines resorting to provocative speeches, threats and encouragement of violence. While the Election Commission is yet to take cognisance of such threats and incidents of deliberate violence, they brazenly continue across the state.
A shoe was hurled at Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on his home turf in Lambi last week. The incident came soon after Aam Aadmi Party's Bhagwant Mann asked people to 'welcome' Badals and other leaders of Shiromani Akali Dal with sticks and stones. In yet another instance, incidents of stone pelting on Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal's convoy in Jalalabad were reported.
In her attempt to condemn Mann's 'stick and stones' statement, SAD's MP and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal only fuelled the incitement. Asked for her comment on Mann's statement, the Union minister said,"If CM Badal wants the party workers to turn violent, it would kill all the AAP workers." Provocation met with a threat; that sums up the campaigning that Punjab has been seeing. Instances of stone-pelting and ruckus between different party workers are being reported often.
Learning no lessons from the criticisms he received for his previous speeches, AAP's Bhagwant Mann yet again provoked people to assault Sukhbir Singh Badal and Bikram Singh Majithia with stones. The video that went viral also led to the SAD knocking on the doors of the Election Commission seeking action against the AAP MP.