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Capt to invite Manpreet to Bathinda coronation rally

A Badal to take on Badals. Newly appointed Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh is likely to invite People’s Party of Punjab president Manpreet Badal – the estranged nephew of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal – to his coronation rally on December 13 at Bathinda, the bastion of the ruling family.

punjab Updated: Dec 02, 2015 10:48 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
Sukhdeep Kaur
Hindustan Times
Captain Amarinder Singh,Parkash Singh Badal,Manpreet Badal
Capt Amrinder Singh.

A Badal to take on Badals. Newly appointed Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singhis likely to invite People’s Party of Punjab president Manpreet Badal–the estranged nephew of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal–to his coronation rally on December 13 at Bathinda, the bastion of the ruling family.

Manpreet, the son of the CM’s younger brother Gurdas Badal, had contested as a Congress candidate from Bathinda during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections against the CM’s daughter-in-law Harsimrat Kaur Badal, cutting her victory margin from 1.15 lakh votes during her debut election against Amarinder’s son, Raninder Singh, in 2009 to a mere 19,874 votes.

The invite is bound to rattle the ruling family, particularly at a time when Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal reacted to the former CM’s appointment as the state Congress chief with a dare, asking him to hold a rally in Bathinda, a challenge Amarinder has duly accepted.

BLAST FROM THE PAST

In the 2012 polls, Amarinder, as Congress state president and CM candidate, had brushed off Manpreet as a “summer storm”, saying his fledgling party would not impact Congress fortunes. Though Manpreet and his party failed to open their account, the “summer-storm” swept off a precious 5% of votes, handing the Congress its second successive defeat in the state polls. In his post-poll arithmetic, Amarinder cited the M-factor as the “game-spoiler”.

Congress sources confirmed an invite to Manpreet was in the offing. “He will be extended an invite as he was the party’s candidate for Bathinda.A decision will be taken at a meeting in Patiala on Wednesday.A meeting between Amarinder and Manpreet will be organised to discuss the future course,” a senior Congress leader and Amarinder confidant said.

Manpreet, a former state finance minister, did not rule out the possibility of an alliance with the Congress.

First Published: Dec 02, 2015 09:22 IST