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‘Who thought they would lose?’ Outside Badal mansion, a dead silence on counting day

Not just senior Badal but even president of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Sukhbir Singh Badal lost in the Jalalabad seat by 31,500 votes.

Former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal. (Express Photo)

A stunning silence prevails outside the Badal mansion in Badal village and only a few cars are seen parked outside the house of the former Punjab Chief Minister. Opposite the mansion, a group of people gather at an eating joint and fixate their eyes on the TV set showing minute-by-minute updates of the Punjab Assembly election.

Sipping through his cup, a customer at the eating joint, Ramandeep Singh says, “After round 11, senior Badal — Parkash Singh Badal — is trailing by 10,544 votes and five more rounds are yet to go. He had started trailing by 1,400 votes in round one and the gap kept increasing. It seems it will be difficult to cover the gap.” By the end of the counting, Badal lost by 11,357 votes.

He adds, “I never imagined that Badal senior can also lose but people’s verdict is supreme. I think senior Badal himself is a thorough politician but his leaders on the ground have misguided him.”

Not just senior Badal but even president of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Sukhbir Singh Badal was trailing in the Jalalabad seat by over 15,000 votes after round 11 and after all the rounds, he lost by huge 31,500 votes.

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Harpreet Singh, who too had come to the eating joint, says, “Who had thought the Badals would lose? Manpreet Singh Badal, who is the Finance Minister of Punjab and a Congress leader, is another Badal from the same village and has lost to AAP’s Jagroop Singh Gill from Bathinda Urban.”

On the last day of the campaign, Manpreet’s cabinet colleague Amarinder Singh Raja Warring in a speech had said, “Saare Badal ragad deo…Saare Badal mille hoye ne (defeat all the Badals, they are all together).”

Throughout the election campaign, it was alleged that all the Badals, including Congress’s Manpreet Singh Badal, are “playing a fixed match”.

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Babbi, a local resident who is happy with the change, is seen celebrating by moving around the mansion on a bike with two of his friends. He briefly stops to speak to The Indian Express and says, “It seems people took his (Warring) words seriously and defeated all the Badals. But Warring himself is winning by a narrow margin of 1,200 votes. Throughout the poll campaign, talks were on that the Badals have colluded with each other and the SAD president, as well as Manpreet Badal, had given clarification for the same.”

Senior Badal was the oldest candidate of the country to contest at the age of 94 years from Lambi. It was in 1957 that he had first fought an assembly election from Malaut at the age of 29 and this was his 13th election and 6th consecutive election from Lambi.

Till now, he had lost only one election in 1967 from Gidderbaha to Congress’s Harcharan Singh Brar by mere 57 votes and thus, the 2022 loss seems to be his biggest loss ever. He had won the Malaut seat in 1957 but as a Congress candidate. After that, he contested as an Akali candidate. From 1967 to 1985, he had contested six times from the Gidderbaha constituency which is adjacent to Lambi and had won it five times. From 1997 onwards, he started contesting from Lambi and kept on winning till 2017.

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This time, senior Badal was unsure of contesting the election and till the first week of January, he was yet to make up his mind. But finally, SAD declared him candidate and the party was criticised after AAP ran a campaign questioning whether there was an age of retirement in politics. “Perhaps this factor backfired on us,” said a SAD supporter on the condition of anonymity sitting in a gloomy mood outside the Badal mansion.

From Jalalabad, this was Sukhbir Badal’s fourth consecutive election. He had won by over 80,000 votes in the 2009 bypolls while the margin kept on reducing and in 2017, he won by 18,000 votes (approximately).

“Who had thought that the former deputy CM would lose from Jalalabad and that in the hands of a new candidate? Goldy Kamboj was in Youth Congress earlier but had left Congress in 2017 after he was denied ticket from Jalalabad. He had contested as an Independent in 2017 and had got only 5,000 votes and this time he defeated the SAD president by over 15,000 votes,” said Bhupinder Singh, who was elated by this result and was busy dancing to the beats of dhol at University Chowk of Bathinda.

Sukhbir Badal till now had lost only one election of the Lok Sabha from Faridkot in 1999 to the then Congress candidate Jagmeet Singh Brar. After that, he never saw defeat until Thursday.


Apninder Singh, a farmer from Beedowali village, said, “All the Badals have been defeated, it seems to be the end of an era of the Badals. They too need to understand that the people’s verdict is supreme.”

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In 2007 and 2012, the SAD-BJP alliance had formed a government by winning 68 seats and it made history when the alliance won two consecutive terms. SAD individually had won 49 seats in 2007 and 56 seats in 2012. In 2017, however, the alliance suffered a debacle as they got only 18 seats out of which 15 were won by SAD.

First published on: 10-03-2022 at 04:52:25 pm
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