Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday launched Congress’s ‘Mission 13’ for next year’s Lok Sabha polls in the state from Mandi Killianwali in Lambi assembly constituency of SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal. At the rally, the CM declared that after the desecration report, SAD was “finished among the masses”, adding that those guilty in the matter will be “punished as per law”.
“Often people ask me, when will the Badals be punished as the report of Justice Ranjit Singh Commission has clearly mentioned their role. Then DGP Sumedh Saini had spoken with then CM Parkash Singh Badal at midnight, and later Saini spoke to the local IG 22 times on phone….and firing happened after that….Justice Ranjit, however, said that he cannot recommend punishment as he is a retired judge and hence with the Cabinet’s nod we formed an SIT. Whenever its report comes, we will go to the trial court and will get them punished as per law. Whether that SIT report names Sukhbir Badal or his father, Parkash Singh Badal, no one will be spared. They (Badals) are ‘panth de doshi (culprits of the panth)’ and hence cannot get away just like that.” Amarinder said.
He added: “SAD is literally finished among the masses. Bargari da masla sariyan de man vich hai… jina marji eh and ehda munda lad lawe, lokan vich khatam ho gaye han eh (Bargari issue is on everyone’s mind… let he and his son (Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal) fight as much as they want, but they are finished among masses now).”
About the decision to organise a rally at Lambi, he said: “I am being asked what was the need for this rally when we are already in power. Even if you are the ruling government, there is a need to meet masses face to face to tell them about your work and the plans ahead. Being among the masses is important. The day we announced rally at Killianwali, Sukhbir announced a rally at Patiala, let them do it. But out of their 30,000 seats, not even 19,000 are occupied and here people have come in lakhs. This is called enthusiasm.”
PPCC president Sunil Jakhar launched an all out attack on Sukhbir Badal mocking him as “Sukhbir Singh Insaan” and calling SAD as Sukhbir Akali Dal.
“One ‘sacha Akali’ in their party is Parkash Singh Badal, but he too is a ‘majboor baap’ now. I must call Sukhbir a virus of the panth. All taksali leaders of panth have been scattered,” he said.
While Finance Minister Manpreet Badal focused his speech on Punjab’s financial condition, he too targeted Sukhbir. “After this huge rally, it seems that fort of Sukhbir is falling on its own,” he said.
Cabinet Ministers Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Gurpreet Kangar, former Youth Congress president Amarinder Raja Warring were the other speakers who targeted Sukhbir Badal.
Interestingly, Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was conspicuous by his absence. However, other Cabinet ministers like Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sukh Sarkaria, Bharati Bhushan Aashu were present apart from many party MLAs.
While Badals remained in the line of fire throughout the rally, not a word was said about the Bargari March.
In his welcome speech, Congress’s district President Gurmeet Khudian listed 13 demands for Lambi, a seat represented by Parkash Singh Badal as MLA for the past 20 years. Amarinder later said that he will fulfil these demands, adding that it was sad that as CM, Badal had not solved issues of his constituency.
About next year’s Lok Sabha polls, Amarinder said: “Two days back, we were called to Delhi, where party president (Rahul Gandhi) asked us if we need to have a coalition with anyone in Punjab for Lok Sabha polls. We told them categorically that we can fight the polls on our own and win all the 13 seats. We don’t need any alliance with AAP, BSP or anyone else.”
He said that after 18 months of Congress government in the state, he was addressing “the biggest gathering in my entire political career”.