Captain Amarinder Singh, who on Tuesday formally took charge as Punjab PCC chief at a rally in Bathinda-Goniana Road area, made a slew of promises that gave his speech the flavour of a ‘rough draft’ of the Congress election manifesto.
Amarinder declared that he would put an end to the drug menace in Punjab within four weeks of his governance and promised to tackle corruption and unemployment. Targeting rural as well as urban voters, he said the Badals’ reign had “ended” after the ‘desecration’ of Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot district.
Amarinder’s rally drew a huge gathering. Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal had challenged Amarinder at the first Sadhbhawna rally of SAD on November 23, daring him to hold a rally in Bathinda at the same venue. During the rally, Congress leaders Sunil Jakhar, Ashwini Kumar, IYC President Raja Warring and many others repeatedly announced Amarinder was the “future CM” of Punjab. They even said, “Our gathering is genuine and not on ‘daily wages’, the people have come of their own accord.”
In a first-of-its-kind move, Amarinder made all the promises after taking the holy Gutka Sahib in his hands and after taking pledge of Guru Gobind Singh. He took Gutka Sahib from the hands of Ramanjeet Sikki, former Congress MLA who had resigned from Khadoor Sahib following the ‘desecration’ issue.
“AAP had promised to eradicate the drug menace in four months… I will solve it in four weeks. My next target will be to remove corruption from government offices. Tackling unemployment will be another priority as these problems plague the masses of Punjab,” he said.
On alleged ‘false’ FIRs lodged against Congress workers across the state, he said, “Once we come to power, all such fake FIRs will be quashed, we will set up a commission for this. Our government will work to sort out the issue of defaulter farmers whose loans are outstanding in banks. No notice will be issued to any farmer.”
“Power will be free for farmers. Shagun scheme will be Rs 51,000 instead of Rs 31,000 of the present government, widow and old-age pension will be Rs 2,000 per month and not just Rs 250,” Amarinder said. Free power to BPL families would be up to 300 units and not just 200 units, he stressed twice.
Amarinder did not forget to refer to the ex-servicemen who had come in large numbers to greet the new PCC chief, carrying banners of Tu bhi fauji, hum bhi fauji. He said he fully endorsed the OROP demand of ex-servicemen. “All babus need to be sent to Siachen for at least six months for better understanding of OROP demand,” Amarinder said.