SAD-BJP Banks on Badal Sr in Pun­jab

NDA camp is con­cerned over the rise of AAP and the al­liance sees the new party as its main po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­sary in next polls Didn’t Need Priyanka to En­hance Life: Vadra

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - RakeshMo­han.Chaturvedi @times­group.com

New Delhi: Strong anti-in­cum­bency in the wake of a decade long rule, the ris­ing graph of Aam Admi Party, grow­ing drug men­ace and un­em­ploy­ment in the state have led Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal-BJP com­bine to build their cam­paign strat­egy for the Pun­jab Assem­bly elec­tions in De­cem­ber-Jan­uary around oc­to­ge­nar­ian chief min­is­ter Parkash Singh Badal’s charisma and achieve­ments. Sources in SAD and BJP said there is se­ri­ous con­cern in the NDA camp over the in­creas­ing po­lit­i­cal foot­print of Arvind Ke­jri­wal-led Aam Admi Party in Pun­jab and the al­liance sees the new party as its main po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­sary with Congress rel­e­gated to third po­si­tion. Iron­i­cally, the ap­point­ment of for­mer chief min­is­ter Cap­tain Amarinder Singh as the Congress Pun­jab unit chief has en­thused the SAD-BJP. “Be­fore the Cap­tain’s el­e­va­tion, it was be­com­ing a Delhi elec­tion like sce­nario for us as SAD- BJP would end up in a di­rect fight with AAP. But now there is re­newed hope for us. The more the Congress is strength­ened in Pun­jab the bet­ter for NDA as Congress growth will be at the ex­pense of AAP,” a SAD leader said. While SAD is strong in the ru­ral ar­eas, BJP has a rea­son­ably good pres­ence in ur­ban con­stituen­cies.

The al­liance is wor­ried as Pun­jab usu­ally votes out the rul­ing party and this trend was bro­ken by the NDA in the last elec­tions. Win­ning the third elec­tion in a row could be a tall or­der for the two par­ties.

Badal se­nior, who will turn 89 in De-

RIGHT COM­BI­NA­TION

cem­ber, is the best bet for the SADBJP al­liance, ac­cord­ing to both par­ties. In a sit­u­a­tion sim­i­lar to that of DMK in Tamil Nadu where M Karunanidhi, now 93, is still bat­tling to bring his party to power, Parkash Singh Badal is SAD-BJP’s last hope. “Sukhbir Badal is not even a patch on his fa­ther. But Badal se­nior has a lot of good­will. Though he can­not travel much now due to his ad­vanced age, he is hold­ing ‘San­gat Dar­shan’ where he vis­its a vil­lage and in­vites peo­ple from neigh­bour­ing ar­eas to meet him and air their grievances,” a SAD leader said.

Badal se­nior is con­sid­ered a good ad­min­is­tra­tor who keeps him­self posted through district mag­is­trates and district po­lice chiefs.

How­ever, ram­pant cor­rup­tion, the disen­chant­ment among the youth due to grow­ing em­ploy­ment and the drug men­ace that is af­fect­ing the lo­cal youth pop­u­la­tion can be SADBJP’s Achilles Heel. SAD will of­fer sops for the farm­ers in the com­ing days, sources said. There is also like­li­hood of dou­bling the old age pen­sion from .₹ 400 to .₹ 800 in the com­ing days. The crop in­surance scheme an­nounced by the Cen­tre, pro­mo­tion of new tech­nol­ogy in ir­ri­ga­tion and farm­ing dur­ing SAD rule, are other ways in which the rul­ing com­bine will try to win over the vot­ers.

How­ever, deputy chief min­is­ter Sukhbir Badal re­port­edly does not en­joy a good im­age. The charges against his brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia are also a weak spot for the Akalis. Parkash Badal’s son-in­law Adesh Pratap Ka­iron en­joys a good rep­u­ta­tion and is seen as one who would mit­i­gate the bad press against SAD. Asian News In­ter­na­tional

New Delhi: The son-in-law of Congress pres­i­dent So­nia Gandhi, Robert Vadra, has said that in the near fu­ture the NDA govern­ment, “will wit­ness a ma­jor re­volt.” In an exclusive in­ter­view with ANI, Vadra said: “I wish the govern­ment all the best, but I think peo­ple will re­volt against it as they know what is right and what is wrong.”

Say­ing that he was ca­pa­ble of with­stand­ing po­lit­i­cal and other pres­sures he said, “I am born and brought up here, would never leave my country, no pres­sure, even if I am hu­mil­i­ated. No mat­ter what the govern­ment says, I have the abil­ity to sus­tain and to ab­sorb. I have a very strong and good fam­ily which gives me strength.”

Vadra added, “I didn't need my wife Priyanka to en­hance my life, I have enough, I have al­ways had enough. My fa­ther gave me enough. I have been ed­u­cated enough to sus­tain in all types of sit­u­a­tions.” When asked whether he would take the plunge into ac­tive pol­i­tics, Vadra said, “I would not say never, let’s see what fu­ture has in store for me.”

He fur­ther said, “We are a di­verse na­tion and have to be neu­tral in all the spheres and treat peo­ple equally re­gard­less of their re­li­gion. We have to learn to ac­cept all sorts of opinions.” Speak­ing about free­dom to ex­press opinions in cam­puses and else­where, Vadra said, “I don’t say go against the na­tion. I am a proud In­dian...I have the right to de­cide ... We can't dic­tate to the youth. They are our fu­ture. We have to lis­ten to them, un­der­stand them but we can­not threaten them or in­tim­i­date them.”

TNN

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