They are separated politically but the two Badals in the Bathinda parliamentary contest remain immediate neighbours on the voter list. Coming from the same dynasty, both Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Shiromani Akali Dal) and Manpreet Singh Badal (CongressPeople’s Party of Punjab) are opponents in a dirty election campaign, calling each other “rakshas” (demon) and “backstabber”.
On the electoral rolls of Badal village, however, the Manpreet family lives in house 390, next door to his sister-inlaw, her husband (deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal), children, and father-in-law (chief minister Parkash Singh Badal) at 389.
On the list, the CM and his brother, Gurdas Singh Badal, are heads of the once joint family. The Harsimrat family, however, has moved to a new mansion opposite the government senior secondary school of the village on the Bathinda-Lambi road.
Manpreet lives in his farmhouse outside the village on the same road. Since both families are neighbours on the voter list, they will vote at the same booth in the government primary school at Badal.
The Harsimrat family has the advantage of one youth vote, for she must be expecting the support of her daughter, Harkirat Kaur Badal (18), who is among nearly 40 first-time voters in the village. Manpreet’s son, Arjun Badal, has turned 19 but not signed up as voter. Technical issues stop the US-born but he is active in father’s campaign.
Neither the CM, deputy CM, and sitting MP Harsimrat nor Gurdas, Manpreet, and his wife, Vinu Badal, voted in the last zila parishad, panchayat samiti, or gram panchayat elections. No one from the Badal family was even contesting. Now in Lok Sabha elections, where prestige is at stake, they are unlikely to miss the opportunity.