Amarinder Singh skips Congress rally, Navjot Singh Sidhu takes centre stage

At separate political gatherings, rivals AAP and SAD claim ties between CM Captain Amarinder Singh and Sidhu strained

Written by KAMALDEEP SINGH BRAR | Baba Bakala | Published: August 8, 2017 7:59:55 am
(AAP leaders Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Bhagwant Mann in Baba Bakala Monday. Rana Simranjit Singh

Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday skipped Congress’s first major political rally after winning the state Assembly polls. The CM cancelled his scheduled appearance at the last moment, with no explanation for his absence coming forth. Arrangements for the rally were made by former MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa, who is considered close to Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. In CM’s absence, Sidhu led from the rally stage.

He used the stage to target the former Akali minister, Bikram Singh Majithia, saying he would have thrown him in jail if state police was in his control. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh holds the portfolio for home affairs in the state.  “Give me police department for two days, I will teach him (Majithia) a lesson,” said Navjot Singh Sidhu. Accusing the previous SAD-BJP government of ignoring the interests of Punjab, Sidhu said that their “misrule and misdeeds”had put a debt burden of Rs three lakh crore on the state exchequer.

On the demand put forth by former MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Sidhu announced Nagar Panchayat status for Baba Bakala and decision to open a polytechnic college in the area. He also announced a grant of Rs one crore for development of this historic town.

Sidhu will betray Captain: Majithia
Former Cabinet minister Bikram Majithia said despite using buses and availing the service of singer Manpreet Sandhu, the Congress could not draw people to its rally. Attacking Sidhu at a SAD rally in the area, he said, “Sidhu is set to betray CM Capt Amarinder Singh now in the same manner in which he betrayed his mentor Arun Jaitely, Sardar Parkash Singh Badal and PM Narendra Modi….In today’s rally, Sidhu had already tried to stage a coup by collecting legislators to his side, but failed.”

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the Congress government should not try to blame the Centre for failing to fulfil its loan waiver promise.  “The Congress party got lakhs of forms filled from farmers promising complete loan waiver of loans worth Rs 90,000 crore. It’s finance minister Manpreet Badal, however, allocated only Rs 1,500 crore for this purpose in the state budget. Now, the government is saying it cannot release even this amount. I want to ask Manpreet Badal one thing only. Why did he cheat the farmers in this manner. He was Finance Minister earlier for four years during SAD- BJP tenure. He knew the state of Punjab finances and also whether farmer loans could be waived off or not.”

‘Sidhu shoud accept that CM won’t act against Badals’
At a rally organised by AAP in Baba Bakala, party’s state convenor Bhagwant Mann alleged there was a hidden alliance between Congress and Akali Dal. “Navjot Singh Sidhu keeps running with files in hand against Badal family and keeps making complaints to Punjab CM. What is use of that if there is no action against Badals. Navjot Singh Sidhu should accept that there would be no action against Badals as SAD had reached a hidden alliance with Congress four months before the voting day for Punjab assembly elections.”

“We had told you that SAD and Congress had joined to keep us out of power,” he added Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khera said, “Captain Amarinder Singh has ditched farmers as he has declined to waive off debt of farmers.”

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