Majha back in reckoning

Politically-volatile Majha region,which comprises 26 Assembly seats,is all set to bounce back to the limelight with president of the ruling SAD(B) and MP Sukhbir Singh Badal opting to represent a segment here after his coronation as the Deputy Chief Minister on January 21 in the Holy City.

Written by Dharmendra Rataul | Amritsar | Published: January 19, 2009 11:55 pm

Politically-volatile Majha region,which comprises 26 Assembly seats,is all set to bounce back to the limelight with president of the ruling SAD(B) and MP Sukhbir Singh Badal opting to represent a segment here after his coronation as the Deputy Chief Minister on January 21 in the Holy City.

Though the regional balance is set to change with the resignation of Cabinet minister Bikram Majithia,his brother-in-law Sukhbir may fill the gap if elected.

The Akali-BJP combine that had swept the region in the 2007 Assembly polls by winning 23 seats,leaving just three for the rival Congress,chose the Holy City for Sukhbir’s oath-taking ceremony to strike a regional balance for political benefits. With the Parliamentary polls round the corner,the ruling combine that owes its victory to Majha — Akalis performed badly in the numerically-strong Malwa region — would try to strengthen their grip on the region.

“Majha has always been an important region for us and will remain so. So,no doubt it is in focus,” said SAD(B) spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema,who reached here to oversee the arrangements for Sukhbir’s swearing-in on Wednesday.

When asked whether Sukhbir would contest from an Assembly seat in the region,Cheema said,“He is the party chief,and could contest any of the segment held by the Akalis. However,the party would take a decision after the oath-taking ceremony.”

He added that the coronation would be a mega event as per the wishes of the party leaders and workers. Political observers said the Akali politics emanates from the gurdwara,and Amritsar being the religious centre was a natural choice for Sukhbir’s coronation,instead of Mohali,which was chosen earlier.

“My family is here to serve the people under the guidance of the Badal family and they will decide my political future,” Majithia had said yesterday before declaring to vacate the cabinet berth for Sukhbir.

Meanwhile,overnight political developments have taken the area by surprise.

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