Prestige of Amarinder Singh, Sukhbir Singh Badal is at stake in Moga bye-poll
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A win for Shiromani Akali Dal would further catapult Badal junior as a tall leader as he is credited with victory in Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee elections on the heels win in Punjab Assembly polls. For Amarinder who is under attack from some state party leaders, a Congress win would be a weapon to silence his critics.
Capt Amarinder Singh admitted that "Moga will play a decisive role in ushering in political change in Punjab". However, Sukhbir Singh Badal who is considered master strategist has surprised even Congress leaders by roping in Jagroop Singh Takhtupura, who was the major contender for the party ticket from this constituency. Others to desert Congress party and join Shiromani Akali Dal include former member Improvement Trust Moga Sakattar Singh and his supporters.
Jagroop Singh Takhtupura belongs to a traditional Congress family and was considered as a close aide of Captain Amrinder Singh. Takhtupura had held the positions of Secretary Punjab Pradesh Congress, Delegate Punjab Pradesh Congress, Chairman Market Committee Badhini, Block Samittee Member and President Truck Union Moga. This was said to be the major below to the Congress candidate Vijay Sathi, who is pitted against SAD-BJP candidate Joginder Pal Jain. Badal said that with this desertion the Congress campaign for Moga ended virtually.
He said that Congress leaders from all the districts were making beeline to join Akali Dal as they were totally frustrated, disheartened and demoralized with their leaders fighting their own ego battles leaving party workers in lurch. He said that Shiromani Akali Dal was all set to register a record margin victory in the Moga by-poll.
On the other hand, Amarinder Singh said people of Moga had got a golden chance to set the trend by defeating the Akalis in the ensuing byelection scheduled to be held on February 23. Addressing a series of public meetings in different villages including Charrike and Malian, falling under the Moga assembly segment, he said, once the Akalis get defeated in Moga, it will set the trend for the decimation of the Akali Dal and the outcome will be seen in the parliamentary elections.
"Let the Akalis not take it for granted that they are going to be there for four years", Capt Amarinder said addressing a well attended public meeting in village Charrike, while adding, the government can fall and given the track record of the Akalis during the last six years there were all the reasons for them to go.
"Byelections have usually been trendsetters and I am sure Moga is going to be one such trend setter in Punjab", said Amarinder and added that the Congress was going to repeat the history the way it defeated the ruling Akalis in Adampur byelection in 1998.
Asserting that he had felt the pulse of the people, Capt Amarinder said, it was because of the state of affairs people were fed up and frustrated with the government. He pointed out, the way a young girl was abducted from her house from Faridkot, or a police official was killed just because he objected to the eve teasing of his daughter and the merciless beating up of a police officer all by the Akali workers has created a sense of anger among the people and they want to teach this government a lesson and the Moga byelection has given them a golden chance for the same.