Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday announced that senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia would take on Punjab Pradesh Congress (PCC) president Navjot Singh Sidhu in Amritsar East, besides contesting from Majitha constituency. Sidhu is the sitting MLA from Amritsar East, while Majithia is the sitting MLA in Majitha.
Badal also announced that his father, former chief minister and party patron Parkash Singh Badal, would contest the Assembly election from Lambi, from where he is the sitting MLA. At 94, the senior Badal is likely to be among the oldest candidates this election.
While announcing Majithia’s candidature from Amritsar East, Badal said, “Navjot Sidhu’s arrogance will be his undoing. He has been harping on about his support among the masses. Now his support will be tested with ‘Majha da sher’ taking him on in his home constituency. He should get ready to fight the brave SAD workers. We will break his arrogance by ensuring he loses his security deposit.”
Badal said, “We have called Navjot Sidhu’s bluff. We know he has not done anything in his constituency for the last five years. He did not do anything in his constituency even as local bodies’ minister (in the Amarinder Cabinet). Now the people of his constituency will hold him to account.”
In the 2017 elections, Sidhu had defeated the BJP’s Rakesh Kumar Honey by over 40,000 votes. His wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu had won the same seat on a BJP ticket in 2012.
Accusing the Congress government of targeting his brother-in-law Majithia and registering a “false case” against him, Badal said, “Majithia is known to fight for the people. This was not to the liking of the Congress government. They have registered a false case against a Gursikh who is known to do ‘nitnem’ (reciting of Sikh religious text) for two and a half hours every day. Our workers also realised that the best way to seek justice for Majithia was in the people’s court and it is they who prevailed upon the party to make him the party candidate from Amritsar East.”
Weeks ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab, Majithia was booked in a drugs case under sections of the NDPS Act.
Badal also announced that the party’s chief sewadar from Amritar East, Gurpreet Randhawa, would be Majithia’s election in-charge.
The SAD president used the occasion to induct three-time Congress MLA Ranjit Singh Chajjalwadi and his son Satinder Singh into the party, along with some Congress sarpanches and block samiti members. Badal also announced that Satinder would contest from Jandiala.
Sidhu had sought a Congress ticket for Satinder from Baba Bakala, but the party gave the ticket to sitting MLA Santokh Singh Bhalaipur.
Meanwhile, former Union minister and Majithia’s sister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said in Amritsar, “Today, I prayed at Sachkhand Sri Harmandar Sahib that if my brother Bikram (Singh Majithia) is involved in any way in the spread of the drug menace, may Guru Sahib inflict the most horrible punishment on each and every member of our family. But if it’s not true, those who told brazen lies on this issue as well as on the painful subject of sacrilege of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib may also be made to face the same fate.”