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Sikander Maluka’s IAS bahu Parampal Kaur joins BJP, may take on Harsimrat Badal on home turf

Husband also joins saffron party, SAD veteran Sikander stays with party

Union Minister Hardeep Singh PuriChandigarh: The task of the sitting Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal to retain the constituency has become challenging with ex-IAS officer Parampal Kaur Sidhu, daughter-in-law of senior Akali leader Sikander Singh Maluka, joining the BJP today. She is the likely contender for Bathinda.

Her husband Gurpreet Maluka, ex-chairman of the Bathinda Zila Parishad also joined the BJP at a ceremony but his father and two-time MLA and former Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka has not joined the party.

He has also not resigned from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and was campaigning for Harsimrat till yesterday. It remains to be seen if he will continue to campaign for SAD or seek votes for her daughter-in-law.

There is no move in SAD to take any action against Sikander Maluka as he had informed the party leadership in advance about the political plans of his son and daughter-in-law. SAD spokesperson Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema said Maluka had informed senior leaders and the party president that his children wanted to adopt a different path in politics.

Maluka is the SAD Kisan Wing chairman and also heads the SAD Disciplinary Committee.

There was suspense over Parampal’s electoral debut for some days with the state government sitting over her resignation from the service.

After her joining, CM Bhagwant Mann tweeted that Parampal Kaur should know the rules of service as she had joined a political party without the approval to her resignation. However, later, it came up that the Centre had already accepted her resignation as she was an IAS officer whose services fall under the Centre.

Harsimrat, who has been campaigning in Bathinda much before other candidates, had won the last election with a margin of about 21,000 votes. Congress candidate Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, whose wife Amrita Warring is the ticket contender now, had come close second.

Harsimrat was the candidate of the SAD-BJP alliance, which is not the case this time. It remains to be seen how much the BJP candidate will dent her vote bank. The contest will be challenging for Parampal as this is her first election. Moreover, farmers and rural voters have been openly opposing BJP nominees.

Local BJP leaders, initially opposing the Maluka family, have come in full support now. The Maluka family is close to Akali-turned BJP leader Sarup Chand Singla. The Malukas enjoyed close proximity with the late Parkash Singh Badal but fissures started appearing when Sukhbir Badal became the party chief. Maluka had openly expressed displeasure when the party did not agree to give ticket to both Maluka and his son Gurpreet from Rampura Phul and Maur Assembly segments.

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