Stating that the Khadoor Sahib assembly byelection would set the tone for the 2017 state polls, Punjab deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday added that “development will win over falsehood and non-performance” in both contests. He also dared the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to contest.
Addressing a state-level gathering of party leaders at Alladinpur village near here, Sukhbir told his cabinet ministers, legislators, district SAD presidents and block-level office-bearers that he wanted Akali candidate Ravinder Singh Brahmpura to win by at least 50,000 votes. “In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the lead from the segment was 38,000 votes. We should exceed this figure,” he added.
Commenting on the absence of the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) from the byelection scene, he said both were scared of losing.
Replying to a media query about Manpreet Badal’s joining the Congress, the SAD president said the latter knew that his People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) had no future in the state politics; “but it is unfortunate that he joined a party that had always acted against the interests of Punjab and Punjabis”.
Cabinet ministers Ajit Singh Kohar, Gulzar Singh Ranike, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Bikram Singh Majithia, Sohan Singh Thandal and Parminder Singh Dhindsa were among those present on the occasion.
BADAL TO CAMPAIGN
Education minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema assigned duties to the party’s rank and file and told them to follow the code of conduct. The party has divided the assembly segment into 24 zones put a cabinet minister in charge of each. Sukhbir said “Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal will visit the constituency’s villages to make vote appeal.
BJP STAYS AWAY
SAD alliance partner Bharatiya Janata (BJP) stayed away from Wednesday’s meeting, as its district unit leaders claimed they were not invited.
BJP district president Navreet Singh Shafipur, close aide of state local bodies minister Anil Joshi, said: “Not inviting us suggests that the Akalis are overconfident about victory and feel they don’t need the alliance partner in the segment where the latter has considerable sway.”