Chandigarh, Aug 19: Former Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal today claimed that most of the NRIs of Punjabi origin are with him and they would influence outcome of the forthcoming Assembly elections in a big way.
After returning from a fortnight long foreign tour Manpreet said that his tour was a success, and around one lakh Punjabi NRIs are with his Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP).
“Despite no voting rights, over one lakh NRIs will be in Punjab during the election period to support my party,” Manpreet, an estranged nephew of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal told reporters here after his 15-day tour of 13 cities with overwhelming Punjabi population.
“The NRIs have promised me that they will come here ahead of Assembly polls by charted flights,” he said.
He dared Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal that if they succeeded in mobilising about 500 people during a rally at Vancouver he would quit politics.
Holding that around five per cent Punjabi origin people do have the voting right here, he said that if any person from abroad sought PPP's ticket it would be given to him on the basis of merit.
He said that his decision to meet Punjabi people abroad was aimed at outreaching them as they play a crucial role in the polling pattern back in Punjab.
He ruled out that his party would be taking part in September 18 Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) polls.
“We are a secular party,” he added.
He, however, said that the SGPC needs to be cleansed as it has become a political tool.
He, however, said the membership of the PPP had touched 18 lakhs.
“The workers of the PPP are humiliated and threatened by the ruling SAD and I salute them for remaining with us,” he alleged.
He said that the PPP was in touch with the Left parties for an alliance to contest polls.
He categorically said that he would contest from his present seat Gidderbaha and dared Badal and his son Sukhbir to enter in fray from the seat. PTI