Badals to face contest of a lifetime

Badals to face contest of a lifetime

 The ruling first family of the Badals in Punjab is in for a contest of a lifetime with both father-son duo facing, perhaps, the best challengers they confronted on home turf in recent times. At 89, this could be Parkash Singh Badal’s last elections.

The same is true for his Congress challenger and incumbent Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh who has announced, unlike Badal, that the 2017 poll will be his last contest.

Both are locked in a fierce contest from Lambi Assembly seat that will count more than the outcome of the poll. The Opposition is not letting it easy even for heir apparent and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. The Congress has pitted one of its sitting MPs, Ravneet Singh Bittu, the grandson of slain Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, against Sukhbir Badal.

The AAP too has put its best foot forward against Sukhbir. The party has fielded its sitting MP Bhagwant Mann, arguably the party’s face in the Punjab elections, to take on Sukhbir Badal from Jalalabad. Sukhbir is a tough contestant and his record says it all.

He won the last Assembly election from this seat with the  highest record margin in excess of 53,000 votes.

 The Congress best bet Captain Amarinder, pitted against the senior Badal, is poised for an interesting contest.

Captain proved his mettle in the 2012 general elections, convincingly defeating senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley from Amritsar in the midst of a Modi wave. Political parties in elections often field “weak” candidates against established tall leaders of other parties, perhaps, in a ploy to ensure a friendly contest of sorts.

Punjab was no exception. But this election is an all-out fight against the Badals given the posturing the Congress and the AAP have adopted. Captain Amarinder Singh, who is also contesting from Patiala urban seat, on Tuesday said he was contesting from Lambi to ‘teach Badal a lesson.’ Badal later in the day quipped: “Let me know where I can take the lesson. I’ll be there.”

The two main opposition parties have even taken the fight to the extended family of the Badals.

Sukhbir’s brother-in-law and Punjab cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia is locked in an interesting contest with AAP heavyweight Himmat Singh Shergill from Majitha. March 11, that happens to be Captain’s birthday, will settle it once for all.

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