Congress candidate Manpreet Singh Badal’s rival with a similar name, and from the same Badal village, has gone missing after filing his nomination for the Bathinda Lok Sabha seat.
Though many consider the Congress to be the favourite, the Punjab results are too close to call. People's Party of Punjab (PPP) president Manpreet Singh Badal speaks to the press after the release of candidates list for the 2012 assembly election in this file photo. AFP/Narinder Nanu
Even his mother does not know the son’s whereabouts. While she would not allow anyone to enter her house, and also refuses to give the photograph of the man in question, whom the former finance minister of Punjab dubbed as his dummy candidate “created for confusing the voters”.
Manpreet’s assertions got substantiated after the Bathinda deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer KK Yadav allotted the symbol kite to the candidate.
A photo of Manpreet Singh Badal’s (rival of Congress candidate Manpreet Singh Badal) mother. Badal filed his nomination for the Bathinda Lok Sabha seat. (Agencies)
The candidate in question was once an employee of the Badals’ transport company. His mother, Amarjeet Kaur, opened the door, and claimed she did not have her son’s contact number, not even his photograph. “I don’t know where he has gone and when he will return,” she said, firmly gripping the wooden door of the small house.
“Yes, it is more than a decade now,” she said, confirming the villagers’ briefing that her son Manpreet was once an employee of the Badals as a bus conductor.
There was no sign of a poster or a flag to convey the candidature of Manpreet in the lonely streets of the village on Tuesday.
The Congress candidate from here was not happy on the allottment of the kite symbol to his dummy candidate, as he had even a skirmish with the deputy commissioner on the issue.
Yadav had a clarification to give, that two candidates had applied for the kite symbol and ‘Manpreet Badal’ got that through a lottery slip system.
Manpreet Badal, having the Congress’s hand has been accusing the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of “playing the bad game of fielding a dummy candidate in connivance with the state administration” in his campaign speeches.
“Look, they (SAD) can stoop to such a low level , and that shows how scared they are this time,” said Manpreet at an election rally in Bathinda.
The other Manpreet Badal was not available for comment.