Amritpal Singh fighting LS polls to 'free' himself SAD chief Badal

     Jandiala (Pb), May 15 (PTI) SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday said Amritpal Singh, who is currently lodged in a Assam jail, is fighting the Lok Sabha polls to "free" himself, and asked people whether the radical preacher is fit to lead them.
     Chief of the 'Waris Punjab De' outfit, Amritpal, 31, is contesting from the Khadoor Sahib seat in Punjab as an independent.
     Amritpal along with nine of his associates is currently lodged in Dibrugarh jail under the National Security Act.
     Addressing a gathering in favour of party candidate Virsa Singh Valtoha here, Badal appealed to people to understand the "conspiracy" under which Amritpal was being fielded as an independent candidate.
     He also asked people to determine whether a person who had acquired 'Sikhi saroop' one year earlier was fit to lead them.
     "How can a person who wears a 'chola' and partakes 'amrit' one year back represent the 'panth' and not a 103-year-old party which has a consistent track record of safeguarding 'panthic' values," said Badal.
     Urging the people to evaluate if Amritpal had been "propped up by central agencies", he said, "What other explanation can be that a person who was first propped up, then projected, then arrested and is now was being kept in safe custody only to be used as a candidate in the parliamentary elections to counter the popularity of the SAD."
     He also pointed out the dichotomy in Amritpal's earlier stand that he did not want to enter politics and was only interested in 'amrit parchar' and fighting the drug menace.
     "It is also a fact that Amritpal was facilitated to file his nomination papers despite being incarcerated under the NSA in Dibrugarh," Badal claimed.
     The SAD chief questioned how Amritpal could think of leading the 'quom' (community) when he could not remain in jail for one year also.
     "Our family did not hold 'dharnas' to free Parkash Singh Badal when he remained in jail for 16 years," Badal asserted, adding "Akali leaders themselves courted arrest and never disguised themselves to avoid being caught as had been done by Amritpal".
     He also said that Amritpal was contesting elections to free himself and not the 'Bandi Singhs' (Sikh prisoners who have completed their sentences).
     "He is fighting polls to free himself and we are fighting for the release of 'Bandi Singhs'," said Badal.
     "All families of 'Bandi Singhs' are with the SAD," he added.
     On the BJP, Badal claimed, "It is losing the elections. Forget securing 400 seats, it will not be able to win even 200 seats."
     He also condemned the "divisive" campaign being run by the BJP, saying every minority had the same rights as the majority section of society.
     Polling for all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab will be held on June 1 in the last phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)