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Sukhbir says SAD will get 80 seats ‘in spite of forces from Delhi working against it’

🔴 Addressing a public meeting in support of SAD candidate Nusrat Ekram Khan Bagga in Malerkotla, Sukhbir said, “Forces from Delhi are trying a lot to weaken the Shiromani Akali Dal... Last time too they did it.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
January 23, 2022 10:00:53 pm
Sukhbir cited vote share figures from previous elections to predict the AAP’s prospects would be low this time. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

Amid a multi-cornered contest in Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday said his party would win over 80 seats in the Assembly polls despite “forces from Delhi trying hard to weaken the party”.

Addressing a public meeting in support of SAD candidate Nusrat Ekram Khan Bagga in Malerkotla, Sukhbir said, “Forces from Delhi are trying a lot to weaken the Shiromani Akali Dal… Last time too they did it. But we are getting stronger day by day. We are Punjabis’ only regional party… If the SAD is strong, Punjab is strong…The Congress, the BJP and the AAP are all being controlled from Delhi.”

Sukhbir cited vote share figures from previous elections to predict the AAP’s prospects would be low this time. “In the 2017 Vidhan Sabha polls, the SAD got 30.74 per cent votes while the Congress got 38.6 per cent. However, the AAP’s vote share was 23.8 per cent. The AAP’s share dipped drastically in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, and this time they have no wave at all. Majha will be a clean sweep for the SAD because people don’t want the Congress, and the AAP has no effect. The SAD-BSP alliance is deriving strength from Doaba. In Malwa, except for Sangrur and Barnala, the AAP has no support anywhere. And the Congress won’t be able to get more than 10 seats this time, their unfulfilled promises being the reason,” the former deputy chief minister said.

Sukhbir unleashed an attack on the AAP’s chief ministerial face, Bhagwant Mann, and said he didn’t have the vision to unite Punjab. “Bhagwant Mann told mediapersons that he wants a Rangla Punjab… The CM can be the one who has a vision for Punjab and who can unite Punjab. We can call him anytime to listen to his jokes by spending Rs5-7 lakh for his show.”

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Citing that the AAP candidate in Bathinda Rural, Amit Rattan Kotfatta, had a case registered against him for allegedly bilking sarpanches out of crores of rupees when he was with the SAD, Sukhbir ridiculed Mann’s “promise to field chai walas, puncture walas, dhabha walas” as AAP candidates.

Targeting Mohammad Mustafa, former DGP and local Congress MLA Razia Sultana’s husband who was booked on Sunday for his “provocative speech”, Sukhbir said he appeared to have lost his mind but didn’t comment further on the speech.

“It is a matter of one month only. I will tell him about all the fake FIRs that he got registered on our workers. Apart from Mustafa, Kulbir Zira, Sunil Jakhar, Sukhjinder Randhawa, Kuljeet Nagra…all will be taken to task… They or their family members contesting polls are nowhere in the competition… One promise I will give you is that I will take this Mustafa to task,” said the SAD president.

Mustafa is campaigning for his wife’s re-election from the Malerkotla constituency.

The SAD president dismissed the newly floated Sanyukt Samaj Morcha as a “so-called farmers party”. “This time everyone is jumping into the political arena to contest polls… What about their candidates? Hardly anyone is a farmer,” he said.

He promised to develop Malerkotla into a tourism hub. Among those present on the dais was Iqbal Singh Khunda, the SAD candidate from the Amargarh constituency, also in Malerkotla district.

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