IN THE last Chappar fair political conference before Punjab goes to the polls, political parties are prepared for a slug fest on Friday.
Chappar village falls in Dakha constituency of Ludhiana from where the present MLA is Manpreet Singh Ayali of SAD.
As Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal left for Sharjah Thursday evening, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will address the SAD-BJP rally. However, there is no confirmation on who will represent its ally BJP.
For the Congress, the Chappar rally last year was affected by the Captain-Bajwa rift and then PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa had given the rally a miss. It was then CLP leader Sunil Jakhar, a Captain loyalist, who had led the show. However, this year Captain Amarinder Singh will address the rally and the party is also trying to give a message that its leaders are united. Manpreet Badal will also address the Congress rally.
MP Ravneet Singh Bittu said, “There is no question of any differences now. Senior leaders, including Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Ambika Soni, Asha Kumari, Sunil Jakhar, Harish Chaudhary- will be present at the rally.” He confirmed that Captain Amarinder Singh would be present.
Even as Congress rally each year is organised by Jagpal Singh Khangura alias Jassi Khangura, the prominent Congress face from Dakha and a Captain loyalist and this year too he has made all the arrangements — the Congress ticket aspirants from Dakha have put up their separate posters at the venue to woo Captain.“Several who have applied for ticket from Dakha have put up posters welcoming Captain at the venue. It is all to woo Captain and increase their chances of getting ticket. However it is Khangura who has made all arrangements of the rally,” said a party source.
Phoolka to attend AAP rally
For Aam Aadmi Party, it will be a litmus test as its Dakha candidate H S Phoolka has recently been miffed with party chief Arvind Kejriwal and also missed AAP’s farmers rally at Moga. Speaking to The Indian Express, Phoolka had accepted that “it was an internal issue and would be sorted out like a family.”
He is reportedly offended with treatment given to local volunteers by Delhi team during four day visit of Kejriwal and over some non-deserving candidates getting tickets. Both issues he had communicated to Kejriwal personally and he did not attend the Moga rally.
However, the party on Thursday claimed that all senior leaders including MPs Sadhu Singh and Bhagwant Mann, candidates Baljinder Kaur, Harjot Singh, Himmat Singh Shergill and HS Phoolka will address the rally. Phoolka also confirmed to The Indian Express, “I was in Delhi for the Jagdish Tytler court case but will reach Ludhiana Friday morning for the Chhapar rally.”
What is Chappar fair?
This fair is held every year in September at Chappar village of Ludhiana in which thousands of people come to worship the saint Gugga Pir. A shrine known as ‘Gugge di Marhi’ has been built in his memory. During the fair, the worshipers dig the earth seven times because they believe that in this way they invoke Gugga Pir to protect them against snakes.
It is believed that the saint had special powers to protect people from all types of snakes. Mostly visitors bring snake bite patients to fair to ‘cure’ them. On the last day of the fair, political parties organise rallies asa large number of people who throng the fair.