For the debutant, the Aam Aadmi Party, which had jolted Punjab politics by winning four seats in Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and had later wiped out the ruling Congress in 2015 Delhi assembly elections and reduced BJP to a mere three seats, Mr Badal said would be a distant third when the results are announced on March 11.
The SAD president Sukhbir Badal is fighting from Jalalabad and is challenged by comic-turned politician and AAP lawmaker Bhagwant Mann, who is among the frontrunners for chief minister's post if the party wins.
The elections in Punjab will also see a stiff battle in Lambi, the home turf of the Akalis and the seat of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, where he is challenged by Congress' chief ministerial candidate and state president Captain Amarinder Singh and AAP's Jarnail Singh.
Also in the fray is Sukhbir Badal's estranged cousin and an erstwhile minister in Akali government Manpreet Badal, who is now fighting on a Congress ticket. On the challenge from his own family member, Sukhbir Badal said he was sure to be defeated from Bhatinda.
Countering the anti-incumbency after two consecutive terms, the Akali Dal will be aided by the support of Sirsa's powerful sect Dera Sacha Sauda which has declared its support for the Akali-BJP combine.
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