Even though the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are not contesting the February 13 Khadoor Sahib bypoll, Punjab deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal targeted the two parties while campaigning for party candidate Ravinder Singh Brahmpura here on Wednesday.
During rallies at Khadoor Sahib town, Goindwal Sahib, Jamarai, Mundapind and other places, Sukhbir mocked both parties for not fielding candidates for the byelection.
On the Congress’ decision to boycott the bypoll at the eleventh hour, he said the party developed cold feet as it feared that its candidate would fail to save his security deposit.
“Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh ran away from the battlefield as he sensed defeat,” Sukhbir added.
Targeting former Congress MLA from Khadoor Sahib Ramanjit Singh Sikki, who had resigned from the assembly in protest against incidents of sacrilege, the deputy CM asked Sikki to explain why he was a member of a party that was responsible for Operation Bluestar and the anti-Sikh riots.
Taking a jibe at AAP leaders, he said they were not ‘aam’ (common) but ‘khaas’ (special). “Before coming to power in Delhi, AAP promised voters that its MLAs would neither draw salaries nor reside in government houses. But now AAP MLAs are enjoying all comforts, betraying the people who voted them to power,” the SAD president claimed.
With Khadoor Sahib and its neighbouring areas being a traditional Panthic stronghold, Sukhbir chose to recall the SAD’s history in his speeches. “The party has a golden history of 90-95 years and it is your own party, whose workers have sacrificed a lot for Sikhs as well as Punjab. This is the party which has made the farmer’s life easy, even as the Congress has never contributed to the welfare of the people and development of the state,” he said.
Prominent among those who accompanied Sukhbir were Lok Sabha MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, former cabinet ministers Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Dr Upinderjit Kaur, and chief parliamentary secretaries NK Sharma and Pawan Kumar Tinu.