Chandigarh:In childhood, majority of us played ‘Mexican stand-off’ game with our age-mates where one stares at the other and the one who blinks is termed the loser. But hardly anyone knew that it would become the choice game of our noted politicians in the future.
In this political ‘Mexican stand-off’ game there is a major difference-they don’t mind leaving the dare of staring at the other incomplete. Another interesting difference is that they all know how to dare others but hardly one takes to complete the task by risking own seat. Punjab president Captain Amarinder Singh is repeatedly challenging AAP national convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to fight him in the coming assembly elections from Patiala (urban) itself. The same way, the SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal poses a verbal challenge to Kejriwal to contest from Jalalabad seat, which the former is going to contest for third consecutive term after two consecutive victories.
The same way, AAP leader Sanjay Singh asks Amarinder and Sukhbir to contest against each other to prove their popularity among masses. Interestingly, the AAP has fielded an eye surgeon Dr Balbir Singh from Patiala (urban) seat against Amarinder Singh from the traditional bastion of royal family. It is learnt that Dr Balbir was reportedly demanding ticket from Sanaur or Patiala (rural) but as he has been pitted for Patiala (urban), the observers, going by the past records, find him a comparatively weak candidate as Amarinder has won the seat thrice in a row that too with handsome margin. The by-election for the seat in 2014, which was necessitated after Amarinder won Lok Sabha polls from Amritsar, had also been won by his wife Preneet Kaur only.
The SAD is yet to decide the name to pit against Amarinder Singh. Unconfirmed reports, however, suggest that the Akalis may field former Army chief General J J Singh (retd) against Captain. Expressing his feelings on Friday, Amarinder said: “Even as I am looking forward to create Army history by defeating former Army chief General JJ Singh in Patiala, once again I challenge the AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal to fight me in the coming assembly elections.” It will be the first time in the history of Army that a Captain will beat a General, he said, while reiterating that he was ready to take on and defeat Kejriwal from any constituency in the state.
On the other, Sukhbir Singh Badal claims to be unfazed of noted comedian-turned politician Bhagwant Mann contesting against him from Jalalabad. Projecting himself a true warrior and brave team commander, Sukhbir asked Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor Arvind Kejriwal not to hide behind proxies and contest against him from Jalalabad in the forthcoming assembly elections. “Kejriwal wanted to become Chief Minister from Punjab but is running away from contesting the elections. You can easily test your popularity by contesting against me from Jalalabad. Why don’t you make a statement regarding this during your ongoing visit to Punjab,” said
Going ahead, he mentioned, “Everyone, including Mann, knows that he is being put into the election fray to finish him politically.” On the other hand, expressing pleasure over Sukhbir Singh Badal announced to contest from Jalalabad, AAP leader Sanjay Singh quipped, “So finally Bhagwant can place order for printing his posters.” “Amarinder Singh boasts of his popularity among the masses. It is high time that he should contest from Jalalabad to test his popularity,” Sanjay dared.
About Amarinder, Sukhbir and Bikram Majithia all making public statements to see Kejriwal as their rival candidate, Sanjay Singh said: “They all ask Arvind Kejriwal to contest against them but never think of contesting against each other.” Bhagwant Mann on Friday floated his fresh apprehension of Sukhbir Badal looking for another seat to safely reach Punjab Vidhan Sabha. “I have a confirmed CID report suggesting that Sukhbir will contest from two seats. Finding himself not winning from Jalalabad, he has kept Kharar seat vacant till now. As per our information, he will file his nomination from Kharar at the last moment but I won’t let him take the safe route. We will also file the nomination from Kharar five minutes after he does so,” said Bhagwant.
However, Bhagwant’s statement, in which he clearly indicated his desire to take on Sukhbir from Kharar too, could not be verified by any official source in the Shiromani Akali Dal or the Aam Aadmi Party. Moreover, some of AAP leaders also expressed surprise to learn Bhagwant’s fresh dare to Sukhbir stating that the AAP had already fielded one of its top leaders-Kanwar Sandhu from Kharar and that can’t be changed now. They advised Bhagwant not to issue statements without consulting the party as it could create confusion among the cadre. Anyway, how does it matter when people too understand such gimmicks of politicians!