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ON A day when Delhi CM and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal started his Punjab tour, Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh challenged him to contest from any constituency of Punjab and that he will be his opponent from Congress
Amarinder was addressing a Kisan Chetna Dharna at Bathinda’s Children’s Park where — in a show of unity — former PPCC president Partap Bajwa also shared stage with him. “Punjab is for Punjabis. Kejriwal can contest from any constituency of Punjab and I will also contest from the same place. Mark my words, I will make him run away from the state.”
Party leaders gave a slogan to the dharna — `Kisaana nal insaaf Karo, sara karza maaf karo (do justice with the farmers, waive off entire farm debt).
They expressed solidarity with protesting farmers of the state and also unfolded a roadmap for farmers’ debt waiver plan if Congress comes to power. The dharna will be taken up to Jantar Mantar as well, said Amarinder and Bajwa.
Besides expressing concern for debt of farmers, Congress stressed on the importance unity in the party.
Bajwa, in his address, said: “Unity in party should be our top priority and we should set our personal differences aside for the larger interest to save Punjab.”
The statement comes after difference of opinion between Hans Raj Hans and Charanjeet Channi at Nayagaon, Chandigarh, where Hans had publicly expressed his displeasure and even left the stage.
Amarinder also said workers should stay united to make their candidates win so that party can form government in Punjab.
Party’s campaign committee head in Punjab Ambika Soni said, “AAP is marred with scandals, one after another, and hence one should think twice before voting for such a party.”
Amarinder also allayed the apprehensions about the feasibility of the debt waiver in view of Punjab’s precarious financial situation.
He said the farmers’ debt waiver was also the national policy of the Congress party. He pointed out the massive fall in the crude oil prices in the international market had saved the country about Rs 3 lakh crore as the central government did not provide and pass on the corresponding proportionate benefit to the consumers.
“We are asking the Prime Minister Modi to spare some money from this huge amount for providing debt relief to the farmers,” he said, while asserting that it is the duty of everyone including the government of India to save the farmers from committing suicide.
Reacting to Badal’s claims that nobody can waive off farmers loans and that he (Capt Amarinder) was misleading them (the farmers) about it, Amarinder told him, “just because you are incompetent and incapable doesn’t mean everyone else is and I will show how it is done.” He pointed out during his previous tenure he had waived off all the loans taken from cooperative banks. He said, while he was in the process of working out a solution with the public sector banks, he lost power and Badal took over and he (Badal) never bothered to follow it up.
Among those present included Manpreet Singh Badal, Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Inderjeet Singh Zira, Gurpreet Kangar, Narinder Bholaria and others.