In a high stakes battle for the lone seat of Anandpur Sahib where former union minister and Congress candidate Ambika Soni has locked horns with veteran Shiromani Akali Dal leader Prem Singh Chandumajra, bigwigs of both the parties have decided to give a miss to the constituency.
Eversince campaigning began around a month ago, not a single leader from the national capital arrived here for neither of the parties.
Even though Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will be visiting Barnala on Saturday, vice-president Rahul Gandhi will be in Punjab in the next couple of days; and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi organised five rallies in Punjab on Friday, Anandpur Sahib was nowhere on the map of the leaders.
Aam Aadmi Party ( AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal also visited Khatkarh Kalan in Nawanshahr on April 12, which falls in the periphery of Anandpur Sahib constituency, but skipped the main hub of the constituency.
Till date, only former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, and former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal have campaigned for Soni, while for the SAD candidate, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal have come forward.
Speaking to HT, Ambika Soni said, “Sonia Gandhi asked me about my campaigning in the constituency and I t ol d her that it was going well. It is the decision of the central election committee to decide about the campaigning of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.”
When asked whether she had approached Sonia or Rahul to come and campaign for her, she refused to comment.
A local Congress leader said, “We are avoiding central leadership as it is a waste of time. It takes around three to four days to organise a big rally, and we believe that in those days, we can have more local public rallies as the constituency is very big.”
On the other hand, a close aid of Chandumajra said, “We are approaching the central leaders to come to the constituency on April 27 and 28 before the campaigning ends.”