As the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday fielded its state women wing chief and Talwandi Sabo MLA Baljinder Kaur from Bathinda Lok Sabha seat where the former leader of Opposition and AAP’s rebel Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira is already campaigning for himself, the political heat has started rising in the region.
Though the Shiromani Akali Dal hasn’t yet announced its two-time MP and union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, popularly known as Badal ‘Bahu’, from her incumbent seat, her rivals are coming with a mission to defeat her. Not much relying on the SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s words that the party’s political affair committee (PAC) hadn’t yet decided on her name, the Congress is also mulling over fielding its heavyweight to take on the sitting SAD MP. Interestingly, some of the SAD and the Congress leaders without mincing words have openly disclosed that both parties are waiting for each other to formally announce the name of candidate as none of the two wants to give a weak candidate in the prestigious contest.
While the rebel AAP leader Sukhpal Khaira, who is this time contesting as a candidate from his newly formed Punjab Ekta Party (PEP) which is an ally of the Punjab Democratic Party (PDA), is known for his oratory skills, he will have to first face his own former colleague AAP’s female power face Baljinder Kaur. Born and brought up at Jaga Ram Tirath village in Talwandi Sabo, Kaur was recently married to Sukhraj Singh Bal, also an AAP leader and its Majha youth wing president. An M Phil in English literature, Kaur had a brief stint as a teacher at Fatehgarh Sahib before joining the party. She had won from her home constituency Talwandi Sabo with odd-19,000 votes.
Though she is considered as one of the strongest leaders of the AAP in Punjab, for being close to Punjab convener Bhagwant Mann as well as the national convener Arvind Kejriwal, she is facing an allegation of having dual vote, and the charges are being leveled by her former colleague in the party Harmilap Singh Grewal, who has been struggling hard to get a criminal case registered against her.Despite the allegations, the political observers feel that her arrival in the battlefield would certainly disturb Khaira the most, who was otherwise expecting major support from the AAP cadre in this belt.Notably, out of the nine Assembly segments in Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency two-Lambi and Sardulgarh were won by the SAD in 2017 and two seats by the Congress-Bhucho Mandi and Bathinda (urban).
Whereas five seats-Bathinda (rural), Talwandi Sabo, Budhlada, Mansa and Maur Mandi were won by the AAP. However, now with a split in the AAP, two MLAs Jagdev Singh Kamalu and Nazar Singh Manshahia are supporting Khaira. Finding this AAP vs rebel AAP fight not much affecting their poll prospects, the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal have decided to focus on taking on each other as the prime rivals.Though the Akali Dal has been sending feelers among masses to shift Harsimrat to Ferozepur, insiders inform that she has conducted the circle wisemeetings of the Akali Dal leaders and workers of the whole of the constituency which is a clear indication of her being prepared to contest the seat for a third consecutive time.
In the Congress fold, the workers are expecting any of three-PWD minister Vijay Inder Singla, finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal and the former IYC president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, being nominated to fight against Badals. Interestingly, a few days ago Bargadi Insaaf Morcha had also fielded Gurdeep Singh Bathinda to contest from Bathinda but as he backed out, the SAD (A) president Simarjit Singh Mann announced Gursewak Singh Jawaharke as his party nominee for the seat.With all political parties certain to field their heavyweights here, one can well presume how high volatile can the campaign here be, at Bathinda Lok Sabha seat.
While Akali Dal is going to seek votes in the name of development made during SAD-BJP tenure with also exposing how Congress ‘deceived’ the voters with false promises even those made by Amarinder Singh with ‘Gutka Sahib’ in hand, all others have decided to take on Akali candidate by highlighting Bargadi sacrilege and firing incident as the prime issue.
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