Mounting an attack on Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leader Amarinder Singh on Sunday said “Punjab is only for Punjabis” and warned the people that the AAP leader would “unleash chaos and disorder” in the state too “as he had done in Delhi”. “What the Akalis have done to Punjab in 10 years, Kejriwal has done to Delhi in just a year,” he said, referring to “chaos and disorder prevailing” in the national capital. His remarks came as the AAP supremo arrived in the state for the second time in less than three weeks to steer the party’s campaign for the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls.
Amarinder said he firmly believes that “Punjab is only for Punjabis”, to whichever party or group they belong, adding that he will “fight against” Kejriwal from whichever seat he decides to contest in the upcoming polls. The state Congress chief said as he feared “large-scale bungling” by the ruling combine in Punjab in the upcoming polls, he had already approached the Election Commission (EC) for deployment of central forces and arranging for EVMs from outside the state.
Amarinder said if his party comes to power in the state, it would take “all the required legislative and executive steps” to create more jobs for the unemployed youth and stressed on the need for industrialisation of the state. Speaking at his ‘Halke Vich Captain’ programme, the former chief minister said industrialisation was the “only solution” to provide jobs to the nearly 90 lakh unemployed youth in the 18-40 age group in the state.
Amarinder said he would take all the measures to provide a “conducive environment” to the industries, including providing “cheap” electricity and land. Ropar-Gurdaspur would be developed as an “industrial belt” on a priority basis, he added. The Congress leader cautioned the people against the “alluring promises” of the Aam Aadmi Party and Kejriwal who, he said, had “adopted confrontation as a way of life”.
He alleged that while Delhi was fighting dengue and chikungunya, Kejriwal “hospitalised himself” in Bengaluru and his deputy chief minister and other ministers were “holidaying in Europe”. Amarinder urged the people to recall his tenure as chief minister of Punjab between 2002 and 2007 and compare it with that of the Akalis in the state and the AAP in Delhi.
He cautioned the people to vote carefully lest they ended up “pushing Punjab into chaos and anarchy again”. The Congress leader alleged that the Akalis had “destroyed Punjab beyond redemption”. “Their main achievement has been pushing an entire generation into drugs,” he alleged, adding, “Beware, lest they destroy another generation as well.”
Amarinder said his “only cherished dream” now was to “bring back the cheer on the faces of Punjabis” which has gone
“missing” over the last nine years of the SAD-BJP rule. He criticised the Parkash Singh Badal government’s policy of hiring employees on a contractual basis.
“My government will ensure that employees are recruited on a regular basis and on proper pay scales,” he said, while criticising the state government for hiring teachers and doctors “on very low wages”. Later, talking to reporters, Amarinder slammed Badal for
the alleged sacrilege incidents in the state over the last few months.
Holding the chief minister squarely responsible for such incidents, he said adoption of such tactics before the polls was the “hallmark” of Badal whenever he saw his “throne in danger”. “Parkash Singh Badal often tries to polarise the society to garner votes whenever he sees his chair in danger,” the state Congress chief said.
Amarinder claimed that the Badal government was “ill-equipped” for the ensuing paddy procurement season. “It has absolutely no arrangements in place, including money for procuring paddy,” he said. On reservation for the “poor among the general category”,
the state Congress chief said he would ensure that the “downtrodden” sections in the category got “some sort of a relief” by reserving “some percentage of the quota available to it”.
Amarinder promised to find a solution to the “ever increasing menace of stray animals” in the state by increasing the size of ‘gaushalas’ (cow sheds) and undertaking the fencing of the “existing beeds” (areas with a thick vegetation).
In Chandigarh, Punjab Congress Legislature Party leader Charanjit Singh Channi said sacrilege incidents were blot on the Badals. He appealed to the Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib to immediately withdraw ‘Fakhre Qaum and Panth Rattan’ conferred on Badal in the past as the CM has not done anything for the community.
“Sukhbir being the president of Shiromani Akali Dal and the home minister of Punjab should take responsibility for these (sacrilege) incidents,” Channi said, adding he should at least apologise to the people,… if he can’t muster moral courage to tender his resignation”. The Punjab CLP leader alleged religious scriptures of all the major faiths have been desecrated over the period beginning with Guru Granth Sahib last year. Security agencies seem to be helpless for which accountability must be fixed, he said.