When SAD patron and chief minister Parkash Singh Badal arrives in Patiala for the Sadbhawna rally on Tuesday, he will get an unexpected gift - shahi ladoos and specially-plucked flowers from the royal estate orchard of Punjab Congress chief, Capt Amarinder Singh.
Amarinder has deputed his former aide MP Singh to hand over the gifts to Badal at 11 am. In fact, Amarinder’s office has formally sent a missive to the principal secretary to the CM, asking him to ensure that Singh gets access to the CM to hand over the gifts. The principal secretary, in a reply, has informed Amarinder that he had directed Patiala deputy commissioner Varun Roojam to arrange the meeting.
There’s no love lost between the two political rivals.
In fact, when Badal will be addressing the rally in Patiala, a Congress stronghold, Amarinder will Bathinda, a Badal bastion, where he will be ‘coronated’ as the Punjab Congress chief.
But sending the gifts seems to be Amarinder’s way of telling Badal this: Akalis can never get hold of Patiala.
“Everybody in the town (Patiala) will be in a festive sprit in view of my taking over, and they (the Badals) are welcome to join the party,” Amarinder said, taking a jibe at the Badals’ decision to hold a rally in his bastion on the same day of his ‘coronation’ ceremony.
Since Patiala is the home to me and my family for the last 300 years, I welcome you all with our great tradition of hospitality that every Patialavi and Punjabi is proud of.”
‘SAD will send you ladoos’
Amarinder said he was sending the ladoos and the flowers to the Badals “so that you don’t feel left out (of the celebrations)”.
The Akali Dal, however, is not impressed. They said Amarinder was no king and the Bathinda rally could not be called a coronation ceremony.
“What celebration when his (Amarinder’s) home town in general and Punjab in particular has not shown any enthusiasm over his becoming Congress chief,” said cabinet minister Daljit Singh Cheema.
“SAD has defeated the Congress twice when Amarinder was its president and we will also have a third victory. Then SAD will send ladoos to him.”