The BJP-Akali Dal alliance swept the Municipal elections in Punjab's capital Chandigarh on Monday. The victory ahead of the state assembly elections could be a clear indicator of which way the election would go.
Out of the 26 seats, 21 went to BJP-Akali Dal and the Congress received four seats. The BJP won 20 seats and Akali Dal one. An independent candidate got one seat.
Previously, the BJP-Akali Dal alliance held 12 seats, Congress had 11 and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party had two. The Congress party turned out to be the biggest loser in the civic polls.
The municipal elections are a welcome news to the alliance since it was fighting anti-incumbency in the state after having ruled for 10 years. Their contenders in the state assembly polls will be the Congress party and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, which hopes for a repeat show of its Delhi win in the elections last year.
The victory will be seen as an approval rating for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his demonetisation plan, which is supposed to fight corruption, terrorism and black money. Punjab faces repercussions from all three of those factors.
With Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa elections in the offing in early 2017, the government is also expected to announce farmer friendly packages in the Budget. The populist moves could be a way to appease the common public after the harsh struggles faced by the poor due to cash crunch.
The opposition, led by Congress, has said that the government is insensitive to the common people's problems. But the government has been reiterating that the people support the move and despite hardships, they are weathering the short-term inconvenience since it is for the good of the country.
The BJP had also set up a stronger holding in civic elections in Maharashtra and Gujarat and credited PM Modi's battle against black money for it.