Battle royale 2017 saw Parkash Badal defeat captain Amarinder


The last time Parkash Singh Badal won an assembly election was the 2017 battle royale with Amarinder Singh, the scion of the erstwhile princely state of Patiala who challenged the five-time Punjab Chief Minister in his pocket borough of Lambi.
In the run-up to the polls, Singh, who was spearheading the Congress’ bid to regain power, had talked about “cooking Badal’s goose”. But he had to eat the proverbial humble pie as Badal trounced him by a margin of 22,770 votes, even though the SAD-BJP combine lost to the Congress in the Assembly polls.
It was perhaps the toughest challenge for Badal who at the age of 89 was facing a triangular fight, with the AAP’s Jarnail Singh also in the ring. Badal, who became Punjab’s chief minister five times and had been part of the movement for a separate Punjabi-speaking state, died at a private hospital in Mohali near Chandigarh on Tuesday, nine days after being admitted with breathing problems. He was 95.
Only last year, the Shiromani Akal Dal fielded the patriarch again from his home turf Lambi in Punjab’s Muktsar district for the assembly elections. He lost but entered the record books for being the oldest person to fight an election in the country. This was his 14th electoral battle in a long political career that began when he became the sarpanch of Badal village in the Bathinda district.
He was MLA 11 times, losing an election for the state assembly only twice.
In 2017, Amarinder Singh fought from two seats. Besides his traditional Patiala assembly constituency, he also contested against Badal in Lambi, accusing the then chief minister of “ruining” Punjab during the two consecutive terms of the SAD-BJP dispensation.
“I will teach the Badals a lesson for all their crimes and misdeeds. I will get all cases of sacrilege investigated, and if they (Badals) are found guilty, I will throw them in jail. I will cook Badal’s goose on his home turf,” Amarinder Singh had then said.
When the votes were counted, Badal polled 66,375 votes while Amarinder Singh, then a Congress candidate, secured 43,605 votes.
The desecration of Sikh holy books had been a major issue in the 2017 polls. After the polls, Congress returned to power and Amarinder Singh became the chief minister by winning from Patiala. Singh is now a BJP leader. In his condolence message sent to Badal’s son and Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, Amarinder Singh said he shared the family’s grief over this irreparable loss. It was not only a loss to the family but to the entire state and the country as a whole, he said, adding that Sardar Badal was a towering leader who commanded respect across the states and the party lines.
His absence will be felt for a long time and the void created will be difficult to be filled, Amarinder Singh added.