Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s rally at Doda village of Giddarbaha constituency, three days ahead of the voting day during the 2012 assembly elections, had turned the tables against People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) founder Manpreet Singh Badal and helped youngest Congress candidate Amarinder Singh Raja Warring win the seat.
Will Rahul do the same magic now for Manpreet Singh Badal, who is a joint candidate of Congress and PPP from Bathinda, and doing his best to unite Congress rank and file behind him?
“Rahul Gandhi had told me that Bathinda would be his first stop whenever he came to Punjab to campaign for Lok Sabha elections. His presence will be evidence of the seriousness of the alliance in making efforts to snatch the seat from Badals,” said Manpreet Badal while taking to HT.
It is interesting that Manpreet is also facing the same challenge that Raja had encountered during the last elections. Senior Congress leaders had backed out from supporting him and veteran Congressman Sant Singh Brar had become SAD candidate from Giddarbaha while others had openly announced not to support Raja.
During these difficult times, Rahul had come to support Raja and held a rally in Doda village on January 27, 2012 in his support. It had helped Raja and he defeated both Brar and Manpreet Badal by handsome margins.
Rahul Gandhi had played a key role in the defeat of Manpreet in Giddarbaha. However, this time Manpreet would also be expecting Rahul to curb factionalism in Congress in Bathinda.
Former Congress MLA Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu had used the Congress-PPP alliance as an excuse for quitting Congress and joining SAD.
Apart from Rahul Gandhi, two big state Congress leaders Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Partap Singh Bajwa and former PPCC president Captain Amarinder Singh have also promised Manpreet to give dates for campaigning for him.
“Captain Amarinder Singh has also ensured me that he will spend one week in Bathinda. His presence will definitely help me in defeating Harsimrat,” said Manpreet.