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Posted at: Apr 24, 2019, 7:09 AM; last updated: Apr 24, 2019, 8:59 AM (IST)

Harsimrat Badal to contest from Bathinda, Sukhbir from Ferozepur

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal will contest the Lok Sabha poll from Ferozepur, while his wife and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal will seek re-election from Bathinda.

The decision of the top leaders to contest is an attempt to revive the party’s political fortunes after its humiliating defeat in the 2017 Assembly polls. By leading from the front, Sukhbir Badal is also attempting to silence the senior Akalis who had rebelled last year, questioning his leadership. This is also the first election where he is in the commander’s seat, while patriarch Parkash Singh Badal has taken the back seat.

The Tribune had reported about SAD’s decision to field its top guns last month.

The couple have been campaigning quietly in the two constituencies of the Malwa region for around a month now, much before their candidature was officially announced by Parkash Singh Badal this morning.

Sources said the surveys conducted by the Akali Dal and ally BJP in Punjab had shown that Ferozepur was the safest seat for the Akalis.

Sukhbir  Badal is himself a sitting MLA from Jalalabad, which falls in Ferozepur Lok Sabha seat. For the past 20 years, this LS seat has been represented by Akalis. It is another matter that outgoing MP Sher Singh Ghubaya had rebelled in 2016, and would be pitted against Sukhbir Badal on the Congress ticket.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal is contesting from Bathinda for the third time. Though there was speculation of her being shifted to Ferozepur, she and Sukhbir Badal had all along denied it. She is now pitted against Amrinder Singh Raja Warring of the Congress and Sukhpal Singh Khaira of the Punjabi Ekta Party.

Sukhbir Badal seems to be trying to pull off a similar political gimmick as adopted by the Akali Dal in 1977. All top party leaders had then contested the parliamentary elections, including Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mohan Singh Tur, Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Surjit Singh Barnala and Parkash Singh Badal.

Taking a leaf from history books, Sukhbir Badal is hoping to revive his and his party’s fortunes in preparation for the 2022 Assembly polls.

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