Interestingly, Punjab election campaign is missing some of the very serious issues. In fact, there is no talk of issues at all by any party, all you see is use of low level language by candidates and blames.
Some of the issues missing are environment, women empowerment, Punjab waters, justice for Sikh victims of state terrorism, protection and promotion of Punjabi language, employment, educational reforms, industry, and pollution control.
All parties involved in Punjab elections have said, if elected they will work for Punjab and will address the issues important to Punjabis. It is challenging to understand why then the political parties and the election candidates not discussing and raising the issues affecting the citizens of Punjab. Are these parties afraid to be labeled anti nationalists? Are they under RSS influence? Are they afraid to drift away from the RSS agenda? These are some of many questions the Punjab voter must analyse before going out to vote. I am fearful that these political parties claiming to be the voice of Punjab may have already surrendered to the Ultra-Nationalism intolerant environment of India, in process to eliminate the minority groups and work towards further stealing Punjab’s natural resources such as river waters.
River water issue is one of the most important issues that Punjab faces and yet the statements made by all major political party leaders are vague and repetitive. Previous Akali governments promised to probe the fake police encounters cases but no action been taken over a decade. In Punjab, there is no solution to the problems until a Punjab based grass root level leadership emerges and addresses the social and the Sikh issues. People themselves will need to rise against atrocities and corruption.
None of the present leaders are willing to talk about Sikh killings, Punjab waters and granting Punjab the status of independent Sikh state with special governance rights as agreed during 1947 division talks.
I am also of the opinion that if the issues are not being discussed, it is more of a fault of public and media.
So, in my opinion Feb 2017 is not bringing any change or hope. It will not make any difference as to who will form the next Punjab government, it will be the same old in a new packaging.