The Punjabi appetite was never meagre on calories. Campaigning for polls on choppers and SUVs only made it richer. As state netas took the fast lane to polls in fancy four-wheelers and helicopters in case of high-flying party presidents of Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal,the feasting too happened over fast food.
A humble lunch on board was a burger with fries,sandwich with chips or a pizza with a staple beverage diet coke. No wonder after the poll run,state Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh seems to have gained weight from his love for all cuisines from the classical Chinese,Indian,South Indian,Muglai – to fast food. If there is a McDonalds on the way,I am sure to stop by. Since you cannot eat french fries without a burger,I take both, he says.
As much as eating,Amarinder enjoys cooking. The Patiala royal family has inherited a recipe book with some of them dating back to 200 years.
It has nearly 140 kinds of pulao alone. When we meet as family,each member cooks one dish all classical ones from our family recipe book, says Amarinder,who is spending time with his family in Patiala before he takes off for a second round of campaigning in Uttar Pradesh.
But for SAD president Sukhbir Badal,it is not culinary skills but face reading that makes a good politician. He does not lose appetite over numbers who flocked political rallies of the opposition. A self-proclaimed face reader,he says he can distinguish between an Akali and Congress worker just by a look on their face.
But he does share his bete-noires love for food. In his chopper,he preferred a quick bite of anything that comes loaded with cheese burgers,pizza or sandwich with a diet coke to soak in. While campaigning in villages,local leaders prepared a lavish spread of Punjabi fare ending with sweets with kheer being a personal favourite. Back from a South African holiday,he will land at his ancestral house in Badal village on February 27 to shape up the next innings and has asked his officials to get details on development works ready.
As for Peoples Party of Punjab president Manpreet Badal,weighing scales are never a problem. I do not gain or lose weight that quickly, he says. For him the poll schedule was far easier as compared to what he started with. It was a much more punishing schedule when I parted ways with Akalis,as I covered the entire state through daily public meetings and rallies, he adds.
Even what Manpreet had gained from polls,a cyst in the throat which had also muffled his voice has also now receded. Diagnosed as non-malignant after biopsy,the cyst has almost disappeared following steroid treatment enabling him to undertake a thanks-giving tours till the poll verdict is in. He is covering three constituencies every day,holding two meetings in each. While it was Maur,Faridkot and Kotkapura on Saturday,Manpreet visited Lehra,Shutrana and Samana on Sunday.
There are also some who gained weight after the loss. On this list is another fast-food lover,Congress MLA Jassi Khangura. He had lost 3 kg during the poll run,but now says the kilos are back.
I was travelling to UK and Canada last week. Since flight food is richer,I guess I have gained back what I lost. Since it is not wise to stand on the weighing scale too often,I will do so at the right time, he says.