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
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-
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.”