Tribune News Service
Bathinda, April 23
The high-profile constituency of Bathinda is all set to witness an exciting contest between two-time MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Gidderbaha MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring. The latter is being viewed as a political lightweight, but may well prove to be just the “heavyweight” the Congress was looking for to take on the mighty Badals in their bastion.
Within just three days of his entry into the electoral arena, Warring has proved he is an underdog to watch out. Launching his campaign today amid a show of strength, Warring made no bones of his intent to set the poll narrative, projecting the contest as one between a “commoner” and the “rich and influential”.
Observers say he may well be following the example of his political mentor Jagmeet Brar, who defeated SAD chief Sukhbir Badal in Faridkot in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections. He too had built his campaign on these lines, his slogan being, “Note amiraan di, vote fakiraan di (Take money from the rich, vote for the poor).”
The fact that Warring is not a heavyweight and comes with no baggage has united the Congress in his support. Also, he reached out to Congress leaders, including those who were in the ticket race for Bathinda, immediately after he was declared the party candidate. A firebrand Youth Congress leader, he is known for his skills in oratory and an ability to connect with the people.
His support base among the youth in the constituency remains in contact. His friends since the Youth Congress days, many of whom from other states, are set to throw their weight behind him in this crucial fight. Another factor working in his advantage is his wife Amrita Warring’s active participation in the campaign. Amrita has been addressing meetings in 14 villages and six urban areas every day, particularly targeting women voters in a constituency so far represented by a women MP (Harsimrat).
Both Warring and his wife are attacking the Badals over the sacrilege incidents and subsequent firing at Behbal Kalan during the SAD-BJP tenure, while also raking up the issue of SIT member Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh’s transfer on the complaint of SAD’s Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral.
Warring cannot be dubbed an “outsider” by his rivals as his Assembly constituency of Gidderbaha is barely 30 km from Bathinda. Though part of the Faridkot constituency, Gidderbaha shares its boundary with three Assembly segments of the Bathinda Lok Sabha seat — Lambi, Bhucho Mandi and Bathinda (Rural).
Warring may also get sizeable support in Bathinda (Urban), which may not have been the case had the Congress fielded Bathinda (Urban) MLA Manpreet Badal, given the anti-incumbency sentiment.
In Bathinda (Urban), the Congress had managed a lead of almost 30,000 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Warring is looking to bring down Harsimrat’s lead in Lambi, the pocket borough of the Badals, located close to Gidderbaha. Warring has been visiting and sharing meals with Lambi’s poor families. His rivals call it a “political drama”.
HIS STRENGTH: NOT AN OUTSIDER
- Warring’s support base among the youth in the constituency remains in contact
- Firebrand YC leader is known for his skills in oratory and ability to connect with voters
- Likely to get support in Bathinda (Urban) which Manpreet may have not got, if fielded
- Indefatigable Warring has been daily visiting and sharing meals with Lambi’s poor families
- Cannot be dubbed an “outsider”, his Assembly constituency barely 30 km from Bathinda
RAHUL, PRIYANKA MAY HOLD SHOW
- Warring, who opened his election office in Bathinda on Tuesday, will file his papers on April 25
- He will be accompanied by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who will hold a rally in city
- AICC chief Rahul Gandhi is likely to address a rally. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may also hold a roadshow
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