Punjab leaders Parkash Singh Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh are getting ready for bigger roles. While Chief Minister Badal is likely to be the NDA convener, former Chief Minister Amarinder has already been elevated to the Congress Working Committee.
Badal was among the first to welcome the elevation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as chief of campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. And when the JD(U) parted ways with the BJP on Sunday, Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal reiterated its support to the saffron party. The party has been in alliance with the BJP since 1997. Badal is not keen on leaving Punjab, but the political circles here maintain that he would be the best choice for the NDA convener post under the given circumstances. Such a move would also neutralise the anti-minority projection of the BJP by the rival parties.
Sources said the speculation that Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley could be the party candidate from Amritsar, in case sitting MP Navjot Singh Sidhu decided against seeking a re-election, was indicative of the strong ties between the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
“Under the present situation, Badal being the NDA convener would be an asset to the BJP, especially in the context of a leader from a minority group heading it,” said a political observer.
Meanwhile, the Congress is also making efforts to regain its lost ground. As the drubbing in the Assembly elections under Amarinder was mainly attributed to ‘selfish’ goals, he had to make an exit after the polls. Much to his chagrin, Partap Singh Bajwa was then given the responsibility to lead the party in the Lok Sabha elections.
Amarinder himself had preferred a position in the party panel rather than being a general secretary as it would allow him to work within the state.