Lok Sabha Elections 2019: People are my strength, says AAP’s Bathinda candidate Baljinder Kaur
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Talwandi Sabo MLA Baljinder Kaur, who has been fielded from Bathinda Lok Sabha seat despite the party’s earlier reservations to giving ticket to sitting legislators, will be pitted against heavyweights of other parties in this constituency, considered as a citadel of the family of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
An articulate and aggressive leader, Baljinder faces the challenge not only from rival parties, but also from within her own party. Two out of five AAP MLAs in Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency are supporting Punjab Ekta Party (PEP) president Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who is also contesting from here.
Besides Khaira, she is likely to have another formidable rival in Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who is set to be fielded from here by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The Congress is also expected to field a heavyweight in Bathinda.
The stakes are high not only for AAP but for Baljinder too as the outcome of polls will show if she still commands the popular support in her assembly segment.
She also has to ensure that her father Darshan Singh’s leaning towards Sikh radicals in the past does not harm her electoral prospects.
She was reportedly unwilling to contest the parliamentary polls until the party pushed her into the fray.
Having done MPhil in English from Punjabi University, Patiala, in 2009, she worked as a teacher at Mata Gujri College at Fatehgarh Sahib for over four years before embarking on her political journey. She has been active in AAP right from its inception in 2012 even as she made an unexpected entry into the electoral politics.
Hailing from Jaga Ram Tirath village in Talwandi Sabo assembly constituency, Baljinder was fielded by AAP in the 2014 byelection to the seat. She lost the bypoll and could secure only 13,899 votes.
However, she did not give up and continued working full time for AAP and kept nurturing the Talwandi Sabo segment.
She was appointed the first president of AAP Punjab women’s wing in July 2015. She never looked back and went on to win the Talwandi Sabo seat in 2017 assembly polls by a margin of 19, 293 votes. At present, she is a member of the national executive of AAP.
A staunch loyalist of AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, she had been on the target of Khaira for allegedly “patronising people collecting goonda tax” at Guru Gobind Singh refinery.
She got married to AAP’s Majha zone youth wing president Sukhraj Singh Bal in February this year.
Stating that her contest is with the big families of Punjab, Baljinder says, “People are my strength as we are fighting for them. People themselves fought my battle at the ground level during the 2017 assembly elections. They will do the same this time also.”
She added, “Party workers here are very positive. They were just waiting for the candidate. I am in the fray being the choice of the party and people and it has nothing to do with Khaira’s candidature from this seat.”