Punjab Congress’ manifesto committee chairperson and former chief minister of the state Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today said the party’s manifesto for the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls will be released either on October 2 (Gandhi jayanti) or on November 14 (Nehru jayanti). Talking to reporters after addressing a Mahila Congress conference in Phagwara, she said November 14 was set as the deadline for the release of the manifesto.
“The manifesto will bring out a new vision for the people of Punjab. It will prove to be a historic document and an upfront roadmap for all-round, integrated development of the state,” Bhattal said. Asked to react on Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s comments that the Congress is the “number one enemy” of the state, she said if leaders like Badal and his son (Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal) were projecting themselves as “friends of Punjab”, then the state “did not need any foes”.
Describing the Badals as “destroyers” of Punjab, especially of the “drug-hooked” youth, Bhattal claimed that Punjabis will “show the door” to the ruling SAD-BJP combine in the state in 2017 by bringing the Congress back to power. “We will win 100 seats this time,” she claimed. Asserting that the Congress was a secular party, Bhattal clarified that it was also a “pro-Punjab” outfit and had “great respect” for Sikhs.
Dubbing the Badals as “enemies” of Punjab as well as of religions, she accused them of “misusing religions for political gains”. Bhattal cautioned the people of the state, asking them to be aware of the “blue terror”, referring to the Akalis, especially the Badal ‘parivar’ (family), and the “white terror” — “government-sponsored” drug mafia hooking the youth to ‘chitta’ (heroin).
“In 2012, we had became a bit over-confident and there were some issues regarding ticket allotment as well,” said the former chief minister while explaining the reasons behind the party’s defeat in the last Assembly election in the state. Bhattal claimed that the fourth front, recently launched
by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, will not cause a dent to the Congress’ support base, neither will the “topiwala” (AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal) be able to do anything in the state.
Terming the SAD-BJP combine “anti-women”, she asked Badal why did he not choose a woman as his deputy instead of his son. Bhattal said the Congress will field the “maximum” number of women and youth in the 2017 polls, adding that “winnability” will be the sole criterion though.