Amarinder, who is also contesting his traditional Patiala seat, filed papers at Malout. Muktsar district Congress president Gurmeet Singh Khudian, who was a strong contender for the Lambi ticket, filed the papers as Capt’s covering candidate.
The Congress chief later led his cavalcade of more than 100 vehicles to Lambi for a ‘show of strength’ rally, where he vowed to “cook Parkash Singh Badal’s goose in his own backyard” and “wipe him out” from Punjab’s political scene. He termed the contest as ‘grandfather of all battles’.
He also dubbed Badal as a “conspirator” behind the incidents of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib last year. “Ae saara kujh hi isne aap karaya hai. (He got it all done himself),” he added, promising arrest of the culprits.
He also assured people that the Behbal Kalan police firing case would be taken to its logical end and the guilty cops would be prosecuted. Two young protesters had died in the firing during the public protests against sacrilege incidents.
AAP candidate in Lambi Jarnail Singh has been making similar accusations against Badal. The CM has so far skipped the sacrilege issue in his campaign, while blaming the Congress for Operation Bluestar and the 1984 riots.
Capt also said he will put Badal’s close associate and SGPC members Dyal Singh Kolianwali behind the bars within 24 hours after coming to power. In the past, Kolianwali has been accused of being involved in election violence and corrupt practices.
‘LAST POLITICAL BATTLE’
“Badal will have to retire after the poll results,” Amarinder said, getting a big applause from the audience.
He stated that this would be his last elections as well. “I am nearing 80 now, and the time has now come for the young generation to take over. I want the young lot to sit in the Vidhan Sabha now,” he added.
Referring to Jarnail Singh, Amarinder said the AAP candidate had been working as a “small journalist” and his act of shoe-hurling (at then finance minister P Chidambaram) does not qualify him to lead Punjab.
A LOOK BACK AT LAMBI CONTESTS
Prior to this clash of titans, Badal’s electoral battle in Lambi has always been against second-rung leaders.
In 2002, Badal defeated Mahesh Inder Singh Badal, his cousin and independent candidate, by a margin of 23,929. He again defeated Mahesh Inder as a Congress candidate in 2007 (by 9,187 votes) and in 2012 (by 24,739 votes).