The stage is all set for political conferences of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party on the eve of Baisakhi at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda on Wednesday.
With this being the last mass political gathering at a religious fair before the state goes to polls in early 2017, none of the parties is leaving any stone unturned to have a grand show.
Through social media or traditional door-to-door mobilisation, leaders of the three main political parties in the fray are approaching people and appealing to them to reach their respective venues in huge numbers.
Litmus test for AAP
Having witnessed a record gathering during the Maghi Mela conference earlier this year, the AAP is banking on its state leadership for a similar footfall this time.
In the previous rally, party’s national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was the main crowd-puller. At Talwandi Sabo, his deputy Manish Sisodia was expected to address the gathering, but the visit was cancelled due to some engagements in New Delhi.
AAP state women wing president Baljinder Kaur said invitations had been sent to senior leaders in New Delhi, but due to their busy schedule, now the state leadership will address the gathering. Kaur along with Lok Sabha member from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann and fellow comedian-turned-politician Gurpreet Ghuggi are posting special messages on their Facebook pages, appealing to their followers to make the Baisakhi rally a historic success.
“We are expecting a heavy footfall this time, as even the previous year, the AAP managed to draw crowds despite having no party structure in the state. This year, the party has a strong foundation with leaders having mass appeal,” said Baljinder Kaur.
Cong leaders camping in Malwa region
The Congress, too, has gone all out for mobilising its workers for the Baisakhi conference. Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Captain Amarinder Singh will be the main speaker at the event.
Many senior leaders and state legislators of the party from other areas have been camping in Malwa region for past several days to make arrangements for it. Manpreet Badal, who is the in charge of the rally, said the party has a stronghold across the region, which will help it draw huge support.
Sukhbir overseeing preparations
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is monitoring the preparations for the SAD conference. The party president has tasked his officer on special duty Charanjit Singh Brar and political adviser Paramjit Singh Sidhwan with the arrangements.
“A huge number of members of the SAD and its women, youth and student wings will take part in the rally,” said Brar.
Race for bigger venue
Expecting a heavy footfall, all three main political parties are trying to outdo each other as far as the venue is concerned. While the SAD venue will be spread over 170-by-600-square-foot area, the AAP has finalised 180-by-480-square-foot venue. The Congress is making arrangements for the public rally in an area spread over 250-by-850 square feet. The parties have also worked on the dimensions of the stage minutely.