Punjab Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Harsimrat Kaur Badal Locked In Keen Contest With AAP's Gurmeet Singh Khudian From Bathinda Seat

Punjab Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Harsimrat Kaur Badal Locked In Keen Contest With AAP's Gurmeet Singh Khudian From Bathinda Seat

The SAD is contesting this general election for the first time without the party patriarch and five-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who passed away last year

Rajesh MoudgilUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2024, 01:39 PM IST
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Chandigarh: Three-time Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP from Bathinda, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the wife of SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, is fighting for the prestige of the Badal clan in their own bastion.

The SAD is contesting this general election for the first time without the party patriarch and five-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who passed away last year; Sukhbir Badal, the sitting MP from Ferozepur and former Deputy Chief Minister, has also decided not to contest this time. Harsimrat, thus, is the only member of the Badal family who is contesting elections this time.

The 57-year-old Harsimrat is facing the ruling Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP's) sitting MLA Gurmeet Singh Khudian, 61, who hogged the limelight after he defeated SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal in 2022. Also in the fray is Jeetmohinder Singh Sidhu, 60, of the Congress who was four-time MLA on SAD ticket and Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) Parampal Kaur Sidhu, 59, an IAS officerturned politician and a first-timer.

The SAD (Amritsar) candidate Lakhwinder Singh alias Lakha Sidhana, 45, gangster-turned-politician, is also contesting from here. Parampal Kaur is the daughter-in-law of Akali stalwart Sikander Singh Maluka. Her candidature as BJP nominee has put SAD in a tizzy and compelled him to stay away from SAD campaigning here.

Disadvantage To Harsimrat Kaur Badal

A major disadvantage to Harsimrat is that all the nine assembly segments falling under the Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency have AAP MLAs. Harsimrat won the past three general elections in a row, but her victory margin in the last two polls was around 20,000.

She defeated Manpreet Badal of the Congress by about 19,000 in 2014 and Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, also of the Congress, by over 21,000 votes. However, what can work in her favour is that the four candidates she is facing are first-timers in the Lok Sabha elections, though, Jeetmohinder of the Congress is a four-time SAD MLA.

Political Parties & Their Main Focus

Harsimrat, who contends that SAD is the only party that represented the Sikh panth and was a regional party, focusses on the drug abuse that is rampant in the state. The SAD candidate, a former Union minister, has highlighted that big projects such as AIIMS, a central university and an oil refinery were brought to the constituency during her stint, and has hit hard at the AAP rule alleging that it had failed to curb the drug menace and has also destroyed the fiscal health of the state.

AAP’s Khudian on the other hand, banks on the party’s welfare initiatives and achievements and the backing of all sitting AAP MLAs of the constituency. On the other hand, BJP’s Parampal Kaur, who banks on a Modi wave and various national issues as well as the family legacy, has been facing the farmers’ ire. However, she accuses rival parties of trying to disrupt her campaigns.

Jeetmohinder, however, fears lack of support from the party as several Congress leaders who were ticket aspirants see him as a party hopper who had joined the Congress last year only. Lakha Sidhana, hopes to gather votes against AAP as a candidate of Sikh radical party, but is likely to cause a dent in the SAD votebank.

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