The Lambi assembly seat in Punjab has been famous for one thing - its legislator and chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. But as the state goes for the Jan 30 elections, all eyes will be on it for a different reason. This time the contest here is a Badal vs Badal vs Badal.
While the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal has again fielded party patron Parkash Singh Badal for this seat, his younger brother Gurdas Badal is in the fray as the People's Party of Punjab (PPP) candidate. The third Badal in the contest is Congress candidate Maheshinder Singh Badal.
While Parkash Badal and Gurdas Badal are real brothers, Maheshinder Badal is their first cousin.
Floated by former Punjab finance minister and estranged Akali Dal leader Manpreet Singh Badal last year, PPP decided to field his father Gurdas Badal for the seat.
"Whatever is the result of the election on the Lambi seat, a Badal will win and a Badal will lose. It may be unfortunate for the family but interesting for the voters of the area," voter Gurmet Singh said.
When relations between the Badal brothers were good, the Lambi seat used to be nursed for Parkash Singh Badal by Gurdas Badal. The senior Badal, 84, a four-time Punjab chief minister, had nothing to worry about on his seat as his younger sibling took charge of his campaign and election work here.
"It could be a real messy situation this time in the election. Though Badal Sahib (Parkash Singh Badal) is the tallest among all leaders here, the election will be an interesting one," Lambi constituency resident Swaran Singh told IANS in Lambi.
In the February 2007 assembly poll, Parkash Singh Badal had defeated Maheshinder Singh Badal of the Congress by just over 9,000 votes. This was the lowest margin by which Parkash Singh Badal won his seat.
In the May 2009 Lok Sabha election, the Lambi seat gave Badal's daughter-in-law, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a margin of nearly 35,000 votes. However, at that time, Gurdas Badal and Manpreet Badal were still part of the Akali Dal.
Though not many are doubting Parkash Singh Badal's victory from this constituency, the air of uncertainty cannot be missed. Since Gurdas Badal is contesting for the first time, not many are sure how much dent he will make in his brother and Akali Dal's votebank.
"Badal Sahib will win hands down. Others will realise their mistake when the result comes out," an Akali Dal supporter outside their election office said here.
The chief minister, even if he is a little worried, is not showing it at all.
"I will campaign all over the state again. I know that the people of my constituency will vote for me," he told a gathering this week while on a visit.
But the PPP and the Congress are not letting things go without a fight.
"In the fight between the two real brothers (Parkash and Gurdas), the Congress will emerge a winner," Congress supporter Tejbir Singh said.
Locals in Lambi say Lambi is all set to become a Kurukshetra in the next few days with the political 'Mahabharat' being played out.