Lok Sabha Polls: "Frustrated" Congress Planting Poll Disruptors, Says Harsimrat Kaur Badal

The Shiromani Akali Dal leader and Union Minister claimed a "frustrated" Congress knew they were heading for defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and were sending anti-social elements to her rallies

Lok Sabha Polls: 'Frustrated' Congress Planting Poll Disruptors, Says Harsimrat Kaur Badal

Lok Sabha polls: Shiromani Akali Dal leader claimed rivals were targeting her with "anti-social elements"

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal staged a protest in her own constituency of Bathinda on Saturday, accusing the state police of refusing to take action against miscreants trying to disrupt her election rallies.

Bathinda is one of 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state and voted for SAD in each of the last three general elections, sending Ms Kaur to the parliament on two of those three occasions. Voting in the constituency will take place on May 19 during the seventh and final phase of polling.

Ms Kaur faces a fight to be elected for a third straight term with public anger over incidents of sacrilege in 2015 and rising suicide rate among farmers contributing to a strong anti-incumbency factor.

Motivated by those issues, members of farmers unions and religious groups gathered to protest at the Union Minister's rally in Balianwali village. Protesters also reached her public meeting in Mandi Kalan, prompting the SAD candidate to stage a protest of her own, accompanied by hundreds of party workers.

"Congress is frustrated over its much awaited defeat in the elections and hence all its leaders are sending paid anti-social elements in my rally which also poses serious risk to my security," she said, while also blaming the police for its alleged laxity.

The Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance have often traded complaints this Lok Sabha election.

In April, for example, the Congress filed complaints with the Election Commission claiming the SAD-BJP alliance was circulating pamphlets that were misleading voters over Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's policies on Scheduled Castes, farmers and labourers.

And last week Bollywood actor Anupam Kher, whose wife Kirron Kher is the BJP candidate from Chandigarh, was left red-faced while campaigning when a shopkeeper pulled out the party's 2014 manifesto and questioned which of the party's promises had been met.

Kirron Kher alleged her rival candidate, Congress' Pawan Bansal, planted such people to derail her campaign. She also struck back on Saturday evening by sharing a video on Twitter that showed a Sikh protester raising anti-Congress slogans during Rahul Gandhi's Chandigarh rally.

When asked about the video, she said the protester was raising genuine demands.

"The Sikh protester signifies the pain of the community which suffered injustice in 1984. His helplessness and agony was quite evident," she claimed while dismissing the allegations he was planted by the BJP.

Congress state president Sunil Jakhar has denied allegations his party backed protesters at rival poll rallies and said the SAD was only facing the wrath of the people for irreparable damage to the Sikh community.

"Be it the black flags or sloganeering by protesters, it only shows that people have not yet got over the incidents of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib and Akalis are facing the heat for it," he said.