Vinu Badal, wife of Congress-PPP Bathinda candidate Manpreet Singh Badal, is a worried mother these days. “I am worried like any other parent in Bathinda that my son can fall in bad company and become a drug addict. I do not feel my daughter is secure when she is moving around in Bathinda,” said Vinu, who has been campaigning for her husband.
She alleged that her kids’ phones are being tapped: “Do you understand the fear of knowing that a cop is listening in to the conversations of your daughter with her friends? Telephonic conversations of both Arjun and Riya are being tapped, and that makes me shiver.”
Arjun Badal, 19, and Riya Badal, 17, both study in the US, and are here these days to help their father take on Shiromani Akali Dal’s candidate Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who is their cousin uncle and Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Badal’s wife.
Manpreet has been on warpath with his uncle and CM Parkash Singh Badal ever since he resigned as his finance minister and left the SAD to form the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) in 2011 citing differences over fiscal policy. After winning no seat in the 2012 assembly elections, he is now taking the Lok Sabha plunge with Congress backing.
But Vinu wants the kids to leave Punjab. “I do not want to live alone at home without our children. But I cannot allow my children to live in Punjab; in fact, no one would want their kids to stay here if given a chance to send them abroad,” she said, in reply to a question why politicians’ kids usually do not study in India.
Further making her point about how the family was allegedly being hounded, she recounted, “A few days ago, I used the washroom in a house during my campaign. Police and intelligence men started questioning that family later. I did not even know the family personally and they had allowed me to use their washroom as basic courtesy. But now they are in trouble.”
About herself, she claimed she had attended protests against the Iraq war in the US and also worked “for a party formed by (lawyer-politician) Ram Jethmalani”.
“I am not in politics or social work by default. It is a part of me. But if people of Punjab cannot understand how I have been trying to tell them to save their children’s future, I will step out of politics and social work. If people cannot understand, nobody can save Punjab,” said Vinu, who says she has a degree in finance from New York University.
A crestfallen Vinu added, “I could have made good money by pursuing a professional career. Sometimes, I analyse if I have achieved anything from social work and politics. The answer is: No.”
About Manpreet, she says he has not changed. “If he was like any other politician, we would have been super rich. I am thankful to God that we have ancestral agricultural land that allows me to pay the school fee of my children. Otherwise it would have been very difficult.”
PTC NEWS CHANNEL ‘PROPAGANDA’
“PTC News channel is being used for brainwashing Punjab. There is biased reporting against us. But I want to ask the reporters if they can save their children from this mess. Not only the reporters but anyone who is living in Bathinda cannot stop fly ash from entering the lungs of their children. Nobody can save you from cancer even if people in power are close to you,” said Vinu Badal.