AMID talk of Union Minister Harsimart Badal shifting her constituency from Bathinda to Ferozepur, eight SAD councillors from Bathinda have joined Congress within a span of one month. On Monday, five-time councillor Santosh Mahant quit SAD and joined Congress in the presence of Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal.
Mahant had been a part of SAD for more than 35 years. She said that “PA culture” in SAD had forced her to quit. Mahant said,”Old and senior party workers are being ignored by SAD while the ones who are perfect in the art of sycophancy are being given plum posts. So, I decided to quit the party.”
Jasvir Singh Jassa, Master Harmander Singh, Rajinder Sidhu, Padeep Goyal, Raju Saran are among the councillors who have joined Congress in the past one month. Bathinda MC polls had happened in February 2015 and the elections are due in 2020. SAD-BJP alliance had won 40 out of total 50 seats in 2015 as state had SAD-BJP alliance ruled government at that time. However, since 2017, nearly 15 councillors have joined hands with Congress.
“Ahead of Lok Sabha polls, when eight SAD councillors join Congress, it clearly indicates the level of anti-incumbency against the sitting MP and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Even during 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Congress had a lead of about 29,000 votes from Bathinda city and the same lead existed even in 2017 polls. So it is a wake up call for Akali Dal who call Bathinda as their fortress,” said Congress leader Jaijeet Johal, who is also brother-in-law of Manpreet Badal.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is touring Ferozepur parliamentary constituency these days, expressed ignorance over councillors shifting to Congress. But the defections come at a time when rumours are doing the rounds that Harsimrat would shift her constituency from Bathinda to Ferozepur. Asked about the same, Harsimrat had told her supporters last week: “Will serve from wherever party will ask me to.”
SAD supporters in Ferozepur have been urgring Sukhbir to field Harsimrat from the seat, to which he has so far remained non-committal.