Taking no chances, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has deployed its top leaders in Dhuri to see the party candidate, Gobind Longowal, through in the bypoll.
Aware of its weaknesses and anti-government sentiments which led to the rejection of the Akali candidate in Dhuri during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the SAD is firing on all cylinders.
All cabinet minister, chief parliamentary secretaries, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs and MLAs have been assigned duties to garner votes for the Akali candidate.
Though Amritsar MP Amarinder Singh’s absence from the poll campaign is in the SAD’s favour, it does not want to be complacent.
The SAD has divided the constituency into 17 clusters of five villages and each cluster is being headed by a cabinet minister or a senior party leader. Each cluster in charge is assisted by three-four MLAs and other leaders of his choice.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said he would be in the constituency for eight days and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal would campaign for the party candidate for a week.
Municipal councillors from Amritsar, Bathinda and Patiala have been deputed in the urban areas of the constituency to seek votes for the party.
While Badal is leading the campaign and visiting villages along with the candidate, cabinet minister and other leaders are resorting to door-to-door meetings and taking rounds of villages to resolve problems of residents. Akali leaders are also trying to win over local Congress leaders, say sources.
Akali leaders have also been asked to see that beneficiaries of the atta-dal and pension schemes get their dues on time.
“The Congress is no more in picture. It would become history after this election. It’s a semifinal for the 2017 polls, thus Akali leaders are spending time here,” said SAD general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra, who has also been assigned a cluster of seven villages.
During the rallies, Chandumajra, cabinet ministers Janmeja Singh Sekhon and Surjit Singh Rakhra are terming the Barnala family as the traitor of the panth.