The 2022 Punjab assembly elections were held in a single phase on 20 February for all 117 seats. A total of 1,304 candidates were in the fray, including 93 women, with over 2.14 crore voters deciding their fates.
The state was initially supposed to go to polls on 14 February but the Election Commission moved the date to 20th at the request of various political parties as Guru Ravidas Jayanti on 16th was likely to witness a large movement of devotees from Punjab to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, which might have disallowed them from voting.
The traditionally bipolar contest between the Congress party and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) became a multi-cornered contest this time with the Congress, SAD with Bahujan Samaj Party as an ally, and Aam Aadmi Party as main contenders. AAP has made significant inroads into the state in recent years.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has contested the elections in an alliance with Punjab Lok Congress, formed by Captain Amarinder Singh who left Congress party after he was made to resign from the post of the chief minister, and Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt), which was formed last year with the merger of two SAD breakaway parties.
There is also Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, which is a political front of various farmer organisations.
Two of the major issues of the elections are the state’s problems with drugs and corruption in the government. Recently, the security scenario in the state and the law and order situation also came to the fore with lynchings at religious places, blast in a court premises amid intermittent news of supply of weapons from Pakistan via drones. The alleged security lapse during Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s commute to a site of a rally in January this year was also raised by BJP, which called it an attempt to assassinate Modi.
The Congress party is banking on decisions like reduction in electricity tariff and fuel prices. The decisions were taken during current Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi's 111-day tenure.
The Aam Aadmi Party has emerged as a major contender this time and it’s eyeing to wrest power while projecting the Delhi model of governance. Most exit polls have predicted a comfortable majority for AAP.
- A major highlight of 2022 Punjab assembly elections is also the populist announcements across the parties.
- AAP has promised Rs 1,000 for all women, 300 units of free electricity
- The Congress has also promised Rs 1,100 per month for needy women
- The SAD-BSP alliance has promised Rs 2,000 per month to all women heads of below poverty line families, 400 units of free electricity, and 75 per cent reservation for the state youth in public and private sectors
- The BJP-led alliance has also announced a 75 per cent reservation for the state youth but only in the public sector