The Shiromani Akali Dal's first couple -- party President Sukhbir Singh Badal and his Union Minister wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal, are making a couple entry in the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab this time.
While Sukhbir Badal, who is a sitting legislator from the Jalalabad Assembly seat, has decided to contest from the Ferozepur seat, Harsimrat has been named as the party's candidate again from the Bathinda Lok Sabha seat, which she has won earlier in 2009 and 2014.
Opposition leaders from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the newly formed People's Democratic Alliance (PDA) are alleging that the names of the Badal couple were announced at the last minute by the Akali Dal only after the party leadership reached an 'understanding' with the ruling Congress in Punjab to give "weak" candidates against them.
"This is clear match-fixing by the Congress and the Akali Dal. The SAD did not announce candidates only for these two seats till the last moment. Both parties have reached an understanding.
"The Akalis have given a weak candidate in the Patiala Lok Sabha seat when Chief Minister Amarinder Singh wife Preneet Kaur is contesting," PDA leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira alleged.
The Congress has fielded sitting legislator Amrinder Singh Raja Warring against Harsimrat in Bathinda and former Akali Dal leader Sher Singh Gubhaya, who is the sitting MP from Ferozepur and defected to the Congress recently, against Sukhbir Badal.
"The SAD and Congress are together in this. There is match-fixing between both parties for the Bathinda and Ferozepur seats," AAP Punjab unit chief and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann pointed out.
Despite these allegations, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh seems confident about his 'Mission-13' campaign to win all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab.
Polling in the state will be held on May 19 in the last phase.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)