Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will seek votes for party candidate from Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency Manpreet Singh Badal on the final day of campaigning here on Monday. The rally will take place two days after party president Sonia Gandhi addressed her lone rally in Punjab (at Barnala) ahead of the April 30 polls.
Ironically, Rahul had campaigned for Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Manpreet’s rival and Congress candidate from the Gidderbaha seat in the 2012 assembly elections. Warring had organised Rahul’s rally at Doda village in Gidderbaha (Muktsar) just three days before polling. Manpreet had finished third, with Warring winning the election by a good margin.
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president and party candidate from Gurdaspur Partap Singh Bajwa, who was instrumental in bringing about the alliance between the Congress and the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP), failed to spare time for Manpreet’s campaign.
Capt Amarinder Singh, party candidate from the high-stakes Amritsar seat, also did not turn up in Manpreet’s support.
“Congress leaders and workers will watch this rally very closely. While party workers will look for a new leader in Manpreet, party leaders from Malwa will see how this will affect their own standing in the near future,” said a Congress worker, who did not wish to be named.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had addressed a well-attended rally here in favour of Shiromani Akali Dal ( SAD) candidate Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Friday. It will be a challenge for Manpreet to draw similar crowds.