Lok Sabha Elections: Parkash Singh Badal's legacy looms large over Badal Village

Lok Sabha Elections: Parkash Singh Badal's legacy looms large over Badal Village

Chandigarh. As Punjab prepares for the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections on June 1, the memory of Parkash Singh Badal, the patriarch of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), weighs heavily on the minds of the villagers in his native village of Badal. With this being the first election since Badal's passing, uncertainty looms over the village's voting patterns, traditionally aligned with the Akali Dal.

Media attempted to engage with the residents of Badal Village to understand their perspectives on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and to ascertain whom they believe would effectively represent their interests in Parliament. In doing so, media  sought to identify the candidate whom the villagers felt would best advocate for their needs and concerns at the national level, especially considering the void left by the absence of Parkash Singh Badal, a figure deeply revered in the village.

Majha Singh, a resident of Badal, reminisced about the late leader's charismatic presence, stating, "Vadde Badal Saab had a different aura... he used to recognize people by their face and even used to remember their families... despite being chief minister of Punjab five times, he was always a well-connected leader." Majha acknowledged the challenge of filling the void left by Badal's absence, even as the village remembers his contributions to its development.

Badal village, with over 3,000 voters, falls within the Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency, where SAD's Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the incumbent MP, faces competition from Congress's Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, AAP's Gurmeet Singh Khudian, and BJP's Parampal Kaur Sidhu (SAD leader Maluka's Daughter-in-law). The Badal family maintains a residence in the village, retaining its ties to the local community.

Reflecting on the transition from Parkash Singh Badal to his son and SAD president, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Lali noted the expectations of continued personal engagement with the electorate. However, he acknowledged the challenge of matching Badal senior's stature and connection with the people.

Badal village, situated in the Lambi Assembly constituency, was a stronghold of Parkash Singh Badal, who consecutively won the seat from 1997 to 2017. However, the tide turned in 2022 when Badal senior suffered defeat to AAP's Khudian. Jabarjang Singh Badal, acting sarpanch of Badal village, highlighted the resilience of Akali Dal support despite the setback, underscoring the loyalty of the villagers to their traditional political affiliation.

Despite the village's relatively developed infrastructure, Hira Lal Badal, a panchayat member, expressed concerns over the insufficient revenue generated by panchayat land, emphasizing the need for additional income sources to support local governance.

In a departure from the village's historical allegiance to the Akali Dal, panchayat member Hira Lal Badal voiced support for the Congress, citing accessibility and engagement with local leader Mahesh Inder Badal as driving factors.

However, not all villagers share the same sentiment, with Manwinder Singh expressing disillusionment with politicians' promises of assistance. Gurdhian Singh, a plumber, maintained a cautious stance, suggesting that it was premature to predict the village's voting behavior.

As the election campaign intensifies, anticipation builds in Badal village, with residents awaiting further engagement from political parties. Majha Singh of Badal Village revealed expectations of increased interaction with the Badal family closer to polling day, signaling a potential shift in campaigning dynamics in the lead-up to the elections.


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