Lambi (Muktsar), January 26
The SAD on Wednesday announced party patron and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal as its nominee from Lambi Assembly constituency.
The party had released its first list of 64 candidates on September 13 last. Till Tuesday, the party had declared candidates in 95 of 97 seats in a pre-poll alliance with the BSP. However, the candidates from Lambi and Amritsar East were yet to be declared.
Political experts said the SAD kept waiting for over four months this time anticipating that the Congress may do something like that of the last election, when it had surprised everyone by fielding Capt Amarinder Singh from Lambi just a few days ahead of the election.
Notably, 94-year-old Badal has mostly toured his constituency in the last few days. Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal too along with his father-in-law has held public meetings in some villages. Notably, Lambi falls in Bathinda parliamentary constituency. Further, the former CM has assigned duties to his relatives and lieutenants to go door-to-door in the villages.
Sources said SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal too would soon hold a meeting with the party activists from Lambi at his Badal village residence here.
In 2012, it was the toughest electoral battle for Badal when he took on his younger brother Gurdas Singh Badal (PPP) and estranged cousin Maheshinder Singh Badal (Congress). Badal won by a margin of 24,739 votes. He continued cordial relations with Gurdas until the latter passed away in 2020.
Five-time CM to face first-timer candidates
The five-time CM will face two new entrants, 52-year-old Jagpal Singh Abulkhurana of the Congress and 59-year-old Gurmeet Singh Khudian of the AAP.
Jagpal is son of late minister Gurnam Singh Abulkhurana, who had won from Lambi in 1992 when the SAD had boycotted the elections. Gurmeet Khudian is son of late MP Jagdev Singh Khudian, who had become MP as a SAD (Amritsar) candidate, died under mysterious circumstances. Both Jagpal and Gurmeet have never contested the Assembly election in the past.
Once Badal files his nomination, he will become the oldest candidate in the electoral history of the state. Born on December 8, 1927, he became the youngest Chief Minister in 1970. Further, he became the oldest CM in 2012. Besides, he was the youngest sarpanch when got elected from Badal village in 1947.
He has served as a Chief Minister from 1970-71, 1977-80, 1997-2002, 2007-12 and 2012-17. He has also served as a Union Minister for a short stint. During his political innings, he has been to jails a number of times for the party activities. He has remained president of the SAD from 1995 to 2008. He was bestowed upon the title of Panth Rattan Fakhr-e-Qaum by the Akal Takht in 2011. Badal was conferred with Padma Vibhushan in 2015, which he returned in 2020 in protest against the three contentious farm laws.
Age seems to be just a number for 94-year-old Parkash Singh Badal. Though he now gets the support of people accompanying him to walk, once he reaches the venue of any political programme he successfully delivers lengthy and meaningful speeches. His mind is still sharp and immediately recognises everyone. He gives credit for his health to the public, saying, “People keep me busy and that’s why I am still better than many others.” He does some exercise every morning and performs prayer twice a day.
Since 1997, Badal has been winning consecutively from this constituency. In 1977, his younger brother Gurdas Singh Badal had won from here as SAD candidate. Further, in 1980 and 1985, Badal’s cousin Hardipinder Singh had won from here as SAD candidate. The Congress has however won from Lambi just thrice in 1962, 1967 and 1992. The CPI too has won from here twice in 1969 and 1972.
Before Lambi, Badal was elected MLA four times from Gidderbaha Assembly constituency. Before the reorganisation of the state, he contested the first Assembly election from Malout on the Indian National Congress (INC) ticket in 1957 and won.
He has so far lost just one election at that too with just 57 votes from Harcharan Singh Brar from Gidderbaha in 1967.