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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Badal to hit campaign trail from Patiala on May 5

Patiala is the bastion of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, whose wife Preneet Kaur is the Congress candidare from there.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 02, 2019 12:09 IST
Vishal Joshi
Vishal Joshi
Hindustan Times, BADAL (MUKTSAR)
Badal, 91, who has served as chief minister five times, has so far been maintaining a low-key profile in these elections.
Badal, 91, who has served as chief minister five times, has so far been maintaining a low-key profile in these elections.(HT Photo)
         

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patron Parkash Singh Badal will hit the campaign trail for the coming Lok Sabha elections on May 5.

In an interaction with HT at his native house here on Wednesday, Badal said he will begin electioneering from the Patiala Lok Sabha seat.

Patiala is the bastion of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, whose wife Preneet Kaur is the Congress candidare from there. She is pitted against SAD’s Surjit Singh Rakhra and Nawan Punjab Party’s Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, the siiting MP.

Also read | Lok Sabha elections 2019: Akali Dal banks on BJP top guns for final poll push

Badal said, “On May 10 and 11, I will be in Khadoor Sahib constituency. Then I will address rallies in Jalandhar and Bathinda. I will go wherever party leaders want me to campaign.”

Badal, 91, who has served as chief minister five times, has so far been maintaining a low-key profile in these elections.

However, the veteran leader said he was waiting for the right period. “This is wheat harvesting season in the state and farmers are busy in their fields. As people in villages are finishing their agricultural works, we are planning to scale up canvassing in the next few days. I am fully prepared to hit the ground running,” he adds. ACTIVE IN HOME DISTRICT At his farmhouse-cum-office, a large number of people were seen waiting on Wednesday afternoon. Even as he visited 30-odd households in Muktsar district since morning to mourn deaths in their respective families, the nonagenarian leader spared time to meet them all.

Also read | Lok Sabha election 2019: BJP will lose badly in UP, says Priyanka Gandhi

Early in the day, HT caught up with Badal at Raniwala village that falls in his Lambi assembly constituency, where he was to mourn the death of a woman. “Visiting a bereaved family in my constituency has been my top priority for the past several decades. It is a humble effort to share their grief.”

On being asked about the secret of his health and sharp memory, Badal replied “I keep myself busy and believe in positive thinking. That’s how I am active at this phase of life.”

To a question, Badal said he is confident that the SAD-BJP alliance would win all Lok Sabha seats in Punjab.

Talking about the national scenario, Badal said he is quite hopeful that NDA will once again form government at the Centre with Narendra Modi as prime minister.

‘RAHUL GANDHI IS POLITICALLY MISFIT’

“Thinking of Congress president Rahul Gandhi as a prime ministerial candidate is absurd. Before becoming PM, Modi had proved his credentials as a leader as Gujarat CM. Rahul, on the other hand, has no experience in governance. He is politically misfit,” he said.

Badal sees nothing wrong in the BJP trying to get political mileage out of army’s airstrike at Balakot in Pakistan. “The Modi government is right in taking credit for an action that it actually ordered,” he said.