Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday announced to face the Amarinder family head-on from the Patiala Lok Sabha seat and reverse the trend of three successive defeats suffered by the party.
After calling all halqa incharges and other prominent Akali leaders of Patiala at his house in Chandigarh, Sukhbir gave them a clear message: perform or perish.
“Deepinder Dhillon is my personal choice. Work unitedly for his victory. We will remove the halqa incharge if our candidate trails from the assembly segment concerned,” he told the leaders, including cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, various MLAs, SAD-BJP district presidents, mayor Amarinder Singh Bajaj and former minister Surjit Singh Kohli.
Sensing that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could eat into the Congress’ urban vote bank, the SAD is hoping to break the jinx.
Previously, Akali heavyweights Rakhra, Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Prem Singh Chandumajra had contested from Patiala, so Sukhbir did not involve himself in their poll planning. This time, he is planning the poll campaign for Dhillon, a former Congressman.
Describing Dhillon as a ‘hammer’ who would break the 15-year-long chain of Congress victory from Patiala, Sukhbir said the commitment shown by all alliance leaders from the constituency had assured him that the party would win this seat by a margin of more than 1 lakh votes.
Thanking Sukhbir and CM Parkash Singh Badal for the faith shown by them, Dhillon said he would go all out to win the seat.