Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “termite” barb against the Congress, even as he ridiculed the BJP leader for “running from one constituency to another, in a desperate bid to garner support for his party’s candidates” in the upcoming Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls. “With the writing on the wall clear for the BJP, the prime minister is making frantic rounds of Himachal,” he said, adding that his own rallies had been delayed due to Modi’s “frenzied movement” in the hill state.
Reacting to Modi’s “termite” barb against the Congress, Singh said, “Had that been the case, the country would have collapsed by now, instead of progressing the way it has in the last 70 years. Himachal Pradesh also would not have developed the way it has under various Congress governments.” He added that the prime minister’s comments reflected his despair at the anti-BJP swing that had started emerging across the country.
At a rally in Kangra Saturday, Modi had likened the Congress to termites and exhorted the people to finish it off by handing over a three-fourth majority to the BJP in the November 9 Himachal polls. Launching his campaign in the hill state in support of the Congress candidates with massive rallies at Nachan (Mandi district) and Fatehpur (Kangra), Singh said it was obvious that the prime minister had realised that the BJP was headed for an electoral rout.
“Thus, he (Modi) has put all his personal efforts in salvaging the situation, with the bleak hope that he will be able to befool the people. “These last-ditch efforts are, however, unlikely to yield results as the people of the state have witnessed the devastation wreaked by the BJP, wherever it is in power, including at the Centre,” he said.
The veteran Congress leader alleged that from demonetisation to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Modi-led central government’s ill-conceived decisions had brought the people of the country to their knees and disillusioned them completely from the BJP. He further alleged that when demonetisation struck, people were not even left with enough money to buy a cup of tea and added that with the promised GST money yet to come in, the state governments were having a hard time carrying out any development and welfare works.
Singh, one of the star Congress campaigners in Himachal, also ridiculed the Bullet Train project at a huge cost to the exchequer and said rides on the train were more expensive than air travel. “Why would anyone want to pay more for a train journey when they could fly at a cheaper cost?” he asked, alleging that the Modi government clearly had no qualms about wasting the tax-payers’ hard-earned money.
Appealing to the people to vote for Congress nominees Lal Singh Kaushal from Nachan and Sujan Singh Pathania from Fatehpur, Singh said with the governments in Punjab and other states caught in a financial bind due to the various inconsiderate decisions of the Modi government, the plight of the ordinary people could not even be imagined. “But, the BJP remains unconcerned,” he said, asking the prime minister if his government had spared a single thought on how the states and the people would survive in the absence of funds.
Pointing out that Himachal had witnessed a huge development on all fronts under Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, the Punjab chief minister said the people of the hill state wanted continued progress and peace, which only the Congress could give them. “Virbhadra’s love for Himachal and its people will ensure that under his leadership, the state will see another phase of development,” he added.
The upcoming polls were a fight for the future of our children, Singh said and exhorted the people to go home and persuade their neighbours and friends to vote for the Congress in the interests of the state. Citing the example of Punjab, which he said was on the path of an economic revival since his government took over earlier this year, Singh said Himachal, which had already witnessed a huge industrialisation under the Congress regime, would also see large-scale employment generation under Virbhadra’s continued stewardship.
“Like me, Virbhadra has also declared that this will be his last election as both of us now want to hand over the reins to the youth,” Singh said.