In a virtual carpetbombing of the chief minister’s bastion, Lambi in Bathinda district, with its volunteer strength, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will on Sunday send teams to each of the 72 major villages in the assembly constituency. It is hoping to take “at least 20,000” families in its fold under its Parivar Jodo campaign.
“In all, over 1,000 volunteers will fan out in teams of 10-15 each for the door-to-door campaign, also covering CM Parkash Singh Badal’s native village, Badal,” said Deepak Bansal, AAP’s in-charge for the ‘sector’ comprising Lambi, Bhucho and Bathinda assembly segments. The Parivar Jodo has been running for over a month and has been carried out gradually so far, not targeting a particular segment as a whole in one day.
“We are adopting the carpetbombing strategy there since our efforts in Lambi so far have elicited a poor response due to hesitation and fear among the people. Since it’s the CM’s segment, we also want to project that we are serious in our bid to wrest this seat at all costs,” Bansal said, adding, “Our strength in numbers might break through the fear of the people to come out in our support. Our teams working there so far have faced harassment, so we also want to instil confidence in them.”
Asked which leaders would participate, he said the party’s central observer for Bathinda zone ( Lok Sabha segment) Romy Bhati and zonal in-charge Narinder Pal Bhagta will also lead teams. “I personally will go to Badal village,” said Bansal, a 32-year-old IT professional-cum-politician. Data of families willing to support the AAP will be compiled and uploaded into the party’s online system by a team of IT professionals in Bathinda.
So far, the rookie party claims to have covered nearly half of the 55 lakh households in Punjab.
However, it is still open to speculation as to who from the AAP stable would contest from Lambi. “Our candidates would be announced in due course, but first we need to be sure whether or not the CM would contest,” Bansal said.
Badal has won from Lambi constituency four times in a row since 1997, and despite his advanced age and the recent health problems looks set to contest again.
His son and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), has declared that the Badal Senior would be the SAD-BJP combine’s CM candidate this time too.