Ferozepur Lok Sabha constituency has remained an Akali stronghold with the Shiromani Akali Dal retaining the seat since 1998. Yet one of the first remarks that SAD president Sukhbir Badal made after being named party Lok Sabha candidate from the constituency was that “Ferozepur needs development as it has remained neglected for long”.
On his first visit to Ferozepur, the former deputy chief minister headed to Abohar where he trained guns at state Congress chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar, who hails from Abohar but is seeking reelection from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat.
“Jakhar and his family members represented Abohar in the Punjab Assembly for about 40 years, but they did only own development and not of the area’s. I have now adopted this area and after winning the elections, I will spend Rs 500 crore on Abohar alone. The other assembly segments of this border area are also crying for development,” Sukhbir said.
He also attacked Amarinder Singh saying that the chief minister never chided Pakistan for making “threatening” statements against India, but was quick to criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remarks on nuclear arsenal.
“He (Amarinder Singh) has never thought it fit to criticise Pakistan and its leaders who never miss an opportunity to threaten India about the use of nuclear weapon,” Sukhbir said. He asked the chief minister why does it “trouble” him when India responds to Pakistani threats. Click here for more election news
Singh on Monday had termed as “highly irresponsible” the remarks of Modi on nuclear arsenal, saying the statement was made with an eye on the polls. Modi, at an election rally in Rajasthan’s Barmer, Sunday said, “Pakistan used to give nuclear threats. What do we have? Have we kept it for ‘Diwali’?”.
Sukhbir also came down heavily on the Congress government for not “honouring” its polls promises made before the 2017 assembly elections.
Continuing with his attack on Amarinder, Sukhbir said, “We will rid Punjab of those who betrayed not only Punjabis but even the great Gurus by undertaking a false oath in the name of the Guru Gobind Singh. We will rid Punjab of repression and maladministration,” he said.
Meanwhile, his Union minister wife Harsimrat Badal, who has been named SAD candidate from Bathinda, a seat she has represented for two consecutive terms, targeted Amarinder and Congress candidate, who shares same name as the chief minister, for staying at Dalits’ houses while campaigning.
“Punjab is already suffering under one Raja (Capt Amarinder, who is also erstwhile royal) and they have sent another Raja (Amarinder Raja Warring) to contest elections from Bathinda. He claims of having food in the houses of the poor putting them under burden. I have got to know that he also gave some money to the families after eating food. I wonder how it is being done when code of conduct is already in place?,” she asked.
Raja Warring, meanwhile, took out a roadshow in Bathinda along with Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal where he maintained that his campaign was aam versus khas (common man versus VIPs).
Harsimrat, however, said, “I have been serving this constituency for the past 10 years and I am happy that party has given me yet another chance. I changed the skyline of Bathinda and during my tenure as Union Minister I brought 41 projects in Punjab worth Rs 1500 crore. They could have been of Rs 15000 crore worth, had the present state government supported me. They did not allow me to inaugurate Ladhowal food park and even created hurdles in AIIMS project here. Starting of flights from Bathinda to Delhi, Jammu, Shtabadi and many other things were done during my tenure only. Even in swachh bharat campaign, Bathinda stood first in Punjab for the past two years and this time it was in top 50 cities of India”.
On her rivals, she said, “All my opponents are sitting MLAs. They all will disappear from the area after May 19”.
Congress’s Raja Warring is MLA from Gidderbaha, while PDA candidate and Punjab Ekta Party founder Sukhpal Khaira is sitting MLA from Bholath. Aam Admi Party has fielded Baljinder Kaur, siting MLA from Talwandi Sabo area of Bathinda.
Her rivals are targeting Harsimrat and the SAD for indulging in dynastic politics.