Even as the claims of “unprecedented development” during their seven-year rule in Punjab dominated the campaign of Shiromani Akali Dal leaders till a few days ago, they apparently seem to have switched over to Modi as their main poll plank to garner votes keeping in mind a strong anti-incumbency factor in Punjab.
Though SAD chief Sukhbir Badal had announced that development would be the party’s main plank for the Lok Sabha elections, now their election campaign has taken a complete U-turn.
Desperate to perform well, the party leadership is now listing the Modi government’s achievements in Gujarat and hard selling the possibility of him becoming the Prime Minister.
In five rallies addressed by the chief minister, including the one with Modi on Friday, of which two were also addressed by his deputy, the Badals mainly focused on Modi and his becoming PM once the NDA comes into power.
Before the elections were declared, the SAD leadership had laid hundreds of foundation stones of projects in a bid to give boost to their development claims. However, nobody is talking about these projects in the course of their election campaign anymore.
Issues which were listed in the SAD manifesto — termed the party’s vision document for elections —released after much delay in Bathinda on April 21, fails to find any mention during the party rallies.
Even in new advertisements appearing in newspapers and electronic media besides the fresh hoardings installed by the party across the state, the deputy chief minister, also the SAD president, is hardly visible. All advertisements are focusing only on Modi along with the pictures of the senior Badal.
In these add campaigns, no achievements of the PSADBJP government, including the much-talked about Investment Summit and Agricultural Summit, find any mention.
“Their ((Badals) new strategy is obvious. Since people have understood their tricks, they are making a last-ditch effort to make the campaign Modicentric in a bid to divert the voters’ mind from issues that concern the state.
Unfortunately, they are supporting Modi who is responsible for the displacement of Punjabi farmers from Kutch,” said state Youth Congress president Vikram Chaudhary.
A top BJP leader said initially Modi’s campaign managers had sanctioned only three rallies for Punjab but he addressed five in a day after the SAD-BJP leadership requested him to do so in a bid to combat anti-incumbency.