Sensing the lack of momentum and non-activity by a section of senior SAD-BJP leaders in the campaign of party nominee and sitting MP Sher Singh Gubhaya, SAD patron and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal camped here for a night, the second time in a week, to pursue all disgruntled leaders to come out openly to work for the victory of Gubhaya.
As per reliable sources, the party high command had got strong inputs that all was not going well and the resentment prevailing against Gubhaya might prove costly if strong measures were not taken in time to end the rift.
It’s an open secret that Gubhaya did not enjoy cordial relations with former CPS (Revenue) and BJP leader Sukhpal Singh Nannu, who is party in-charge of Ferozepur (urban) assembly segment. During 2009 polls, Gubhaya had trailed by 19,000 votes from Ferozepur (urban).
Till today, Nannu had not started any campaign for Gubhaya and last week, when Nannu organised a religious function (a show of strength), Gubhaya gave it a skip, which further deepened the ‘differences’ between the two leaders, who had been almost on non-speaking terms for more than two- and-a-half years.
“During his stay last night at the residence of Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Badal had reportedly discussed the issue with Nannu and tried to pursue him to initiate work for Gubhaya.” revealed a senior party functionary pleading anonymity.
“Following a plea by Gubhaya, Badal also talked to various Akali leaders including Baldev Kamboj, chairman of Zila Parishad,” sources disclosed further.
Another important leader with whom Gubhaya did not enjoy proper coordination included Verdev Singh Mann alias Nonny, halqa in-charge, Guru Har Sahai assembly segment.
It may be mentioned here that Nonny was also a party ticket contender and his support would also be a crucial factor for Gubhaya to retain his seat as Nonny, being son of three-time SAD member of Parliament Zora Singh Mann has a large number of supporters in all the nine assembly segments of the parliamentary constituency.
When contacted, acknowledging efforts of Badal, Sukhpal Singh Nannu said that party workers as well as the electorate had been totally ignored by Gubhaya in the last five years, so how can everything be normal overnight.
It is also worth mentioning that the SAD-BJP alliance had won the Ferozepur parliamentary seat for four times in a row, largely due to infighting among local Congress leaders. However, even this time also, the Congress is not in a dissimilar situation.
Replying to a query, Badal ruled out any factionalism in the SAD-BJP and claimed that they would make a clean sweep in the state.
"All big guns of Congress will lick dust in the polls as there is a wave of resentment against Congress party due to their scam-filled 10 years of rule under the umbrella of the UPA", said Badal.
Commenting on the seizure of heavy consignment of drugs at the Indo-Pak border, Badal again lashed out at the Congress and held it responsible for making youth drug addicts in the state.