A SHIROMANI Akali Dal (SAD) spokesperson on Tuesday said feedback from Ferozepur constituency indicates that party workers want SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal to contest the Lok Sabha polls from there.
The name of his wife and Union Minister Harsimrat Badal as contender from Bathinda is also doing the rounds. The last time Sukhbir, who is an MLA from Jalalabad, had contested Lok Sabha elections was in 1999 from Faridkot.
Charanjeet Brar, political secretary to the SAD president and party spokesperson, said, “Feedback was taken from Ferozepur parliamentary constituency about the choice of candidate and even workers at large are demanding that the SAD president should contest. As of now, it is purely a demand of the workers…However, the final decision is yet to be taken by the core committee.
Asked whether the part did not have enough fresh faces, Brar said, “Sometimes it is part of the party’s strategy to field a heavyweight candidate to give workers a boost and create a wave in the area. That does not mean that we don’t have enough faces in the party. A final decision is yet to be taken.”
After Sher Singh Ghubaya left SAD and joined the Congress, SAD does not have any known face from the area. Ghubaya, meanwhile, has already started campaigning in the area, though his ticket is yet to be announced.
SAD senior vice-president Daljeet Singh Cheema said, “We have vested all powers with Pradhanji (Sukhbir Badal). We will abide by all decisions taken regarding candidates.”
However, Brar said, “(There is) no doubt that all powers are with the president of the party, but when it comes to his own name, the senior party leadership and the entire core committee will decide. I am sure a decision will be made on all names by this week.”
Sukhbir had entered politics in 1996, when he had contesting polls from Faridkot Lok Sabha constituency. He was Union minister of industry from 1998-1999. Later, he also won as MP in 2004 by defeating then Congress leader Jagmeet Brar.
Sukhbir had lost one Lok Sabha poll in 1999 to Congress’s Jagmeet Brar by around 6,000 votes.
He was Faridkot MP from 2004 to 2009 and later jumped to state politics after Sher Singh Ghubaya was given a Lok Sabha ticket from Ferozepur in the 2009 election. Sukhbir had won the bypoll from Jalalabad constituency — which was vacated by Ghuabaya for him — by more than 80,000 votes. He became deputy chief minister of Punjab after winning bypoll and afterwards contested from Jalalabad in 2012 and in 2017.
Faridkot is now a reserved seat and hence Sukhbir cannot try his luck from there. If he contests again, he will be contesting Lok Sabha polls after a gap of 23 years.