New Delhi: Amarinder Singh, Congress's Punjab chief predicts that the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will win less than 20 of 117 seats in the state elections now months away and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party will get "a bit more than that." Sukhbir Badal of SAD wagers the Congress will win about 35, with the Aam Aadmi Party getting "less than 10."
- Amarinder predicts SAD will get 20 out of 117 seats and AAP 'a bit more'
- Sukhbir Badal says Congress will get 35 and Aam Aadmi Party less than 10
- Both leaders see no future for Arvind Kejriwal's AAP in Punjab
Both are sure their party is winning the election and forming government. They are also more or less in consonance on the future they see for AAP in Punjab - none. "Kejriwal is a lost case in Punjab, that is why you don't have him here," said Mr Badal.
Sukhbir Badal, who is Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister, and Captain Amarinder Singh were talking to NDTV's Sonia Singh at the HT Leadership Summit today, taking frequent swipes at each other like when Mr Badal said, "One Congress guy told me they wanted Navjot Singh Sidhu, but instead we got his wife," referring to the cricketer-turned politician's negotiations to join the Congress.
Amarinder Singh, Mr Badal alleged, was saddled with Mr Sidhu after soundly criticising him. "He has to listen to the high command," the deputy CM said.
They debated governance and the performance of each other's party, traditional rivals in Punjab for years. They argued about the state of PUnjab's economy, its drug abuse problem and about the notes ban.
"Punjab has a short fuse, you will start seeing trouble," warned Amrinder Singh, whose party has led a united opposition in Parliament to attack the Centre over the decision to ban 500 and 1000 rupee notes and its impact on people amid a massive cash crunch.
Mr Badal, whose Akali Dal is a partner of the BJP both at the Centre and in the state said, "The problem is the availability of cash. The faster cash is made available, the problem will be solved."
These are two men who have a long history of political rivalry and have known each other for years. "I touched his feet even when he put me behind bars," said Sukhbir Badal and Amarinder Singh retorted, "We do have a culture in the state. If he pays respects to me as an elder, that shouldn't be interpreted in any other way."
The Captain drew laughs when he asked, "How long were you in jail" and also when he said, "I sent him Diet Coke when he was in jail."