Badal siblings to lock horns in Punjab assembly polls

Badal siblings to lock horns in Punjab assembly polls

All in a family

Years after their life in harmony, the brothers of the ruling first family in Punjab are now set for a crucial battle to reclaim the same political turf in the upcoming Assembly elections.

The incumbent Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal and his elder brother Gurdas Badal, who of late hit the headlines for growing dissent, are likely to contest from Lambi Assembly constituency, considered a stronghold of the Badals.

The People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) has decided to field Gurdas Badal against  the four-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The wedge between the brothers that has trigged a race of succession of sorts has its genesis in differences between the foreign-bred sons of the two. Till about an year ago, Gurdas Badal’s son Manpreet Badal stood tall as a Cabinet minister in Punjab under his uncle Parkash Singh Badal’s rule. The CM’s son Sukhbir Badal, the heir apparent, is the deputy CM in Punjab. Both Manpreet and Sukhbir arguably never had a good rapport and the spit is wide open in public now as  Manpreet has turned a detractor.

After his unceremonious exist from his parent party, Manpreet launched  the People’s Party of Punjab. The party hopes that Gurdas  could be the only candidate who could stand up against the  CM.  Manpreet Badal said  his father was the only strong contender who could defeat the CM on his home turf in Lambi in Muktsar district.

Manpreet Badal has won the Assembly elections four times from Gidderbaha in Punjab under the patronship of his uncle  and his former party, the Akali Dal. His party PPP recently has entered into an alliance  with the Left and the SAD (Barnala) led by former Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala for the assembly elections.

The political developments that have unfolded not only tends to unnerve Manpreet’s former party and its mentors, but also puts Gurdas Badal in a better-than-before situation.

Manpreet Singh said his father has served the people in Lambi and Gidderbaha for over five decades, even during the absence of his brother Parkash Singh Badal during his long stint in jail.  It is also likely that given the turnaround of political events in the state, the CM may not contest elections from Lambi and instead prefer Gidderbaha, a constituency represented by  Manpreet Singh.  Parkash Singh Badal has contested five assembly elections from Gidderbaha before he opted for Lambi.

No matter what the election result, this, according to sources, could be the beginning of the end of whatever is left of the relationship between the two families. 

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