“Dhindsa sahab nu dil khol ke vottan paao, pher ena nu kender di Modi sarkar de vich mantri banawa ge, taan ki Punjab lai nottan de truck bhar bhar ke liaye sakan”(please vote for Dhindsa. He will get a cabinet berth in the Modi government at the centre and he will bring truckloads of money for Punjab).
This was the message at all public rallies addressed by Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal held in support of SAD candidate Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa in Sangrur.
Thanks to dynastic politics, the two-time parliamentarian from Bathinda Harsimrat Kaur Badal has surpassed the claim of 78-year-old party’s general secretary and chairman of the party’s election manifesto committee Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa to a cabinet berth in the Modi government at the Centre.
Dhindsa’s age could also be cited as an excuse for his failure to get a cabinet berth, but the elevation of the Badal “bahu” proves that the Rajya Sabha MP, who has 42-year-long political career, might have become the victim of dynastic politics.
When contacted, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa told Hindustan Times over phone from Delhi: “As I could not win the Sangrur seat for the party, I was not in the race of a cabinet berth.”
“The chief minister had asked me about my interest in seeking a cabinet berth, but I said there were other experienced leaders in the party,” Dhinsa said.
When asked whether the age factor was also a hurdle in his way as the Modi cabinet did not induct any leader above 75 years, Dhindsa said: “This might be a factor for those leaders who were aspiring for a cabinet berth, but I was not in the race.”
Apart from being a close confidante of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Dhindsa is also among the seniormost leaders of the party. But he failed to win the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat.
Also, the absolute majority of the BJP shattered Dhindsa’s dream of having a second inning at the centre.
As several leaders, who failed to win the Lok Sabha elections, took oath as cabinet minister, Dhindsa might be watching it closely, remembering the speech of Sukhbir Badal who had said: “Kendra wich agli sarkar NDA di banugi te Modi sahab pradhan mantri banan ge. Modi sahab vadde Badal sahab di koi gal ni mod sakde. Pher Dhindsa sahab kender wich mantri banan ge (The next gover nment at the centre will be headed by Modi as prime minister. Modi cannot say no to Parkash Singh Badal and Dhindsa will be a cabinet minister).”