In Congress’ ‘Mission 13’ poll pitch, Captain Amarinder Singh stars as the biggest drawhttps://indianexpress.com/elections/in-congress-mission-13-poll-pitch-captain-amarinder-singh-stars-as-the-biggest-draw-5718185/

In Congress’ ‘Mission 13’ poll pitch, Captain Amarinder Singh stars as the biggest draw

The backdrop in Amarinder’s rallies also carries Amarinder’s blow-up picture with the slogan and AICC president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi as two small pictures in the corner. PPCC chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar is missing from the pictures.

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Amarinder is not contesting in the Lok Sabha election, but he is addressing rallies for all party candidates by travelling across the state. (File)

With political discourse revolving around Balakot airstrikes ahead of Lok Sabha election, Punjab Congress has centered its campaign around Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, an ex-serviceman, who uses the title “Captain” extensively.

From the earlier tag-line of “Chahunda hai Punjab Captain di Sarkar” ahead of Assembly election in the state, the Congress has now changed it to “Sara Punjab Captain De Naal” (Entire Punjab is with Captain) for its ‘Mission 13’ in the state — a tag line similar to Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) before Assembly election, “Kejriwal Kejriwal, Sara Punjab Tere Naal).

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As political strategist Prashant Kishor had designed 2017 Assembly election around Amarinder only considering his popularity in the state, the state Congress has also taken the same line and is projecting Amarinder as the only Congress leader in his rallies, slogans and party’s jingles.

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Congress party’s Prime Minister candidate, Rahul Gandhi is, however, missing from Punjab Congress’ jingles and songs. The backdrop in Amarinder’s rallies also carries Amarinder’s blow-up picture with the slogan and AICC president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi as two small pictures in the corner. PPCC chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar is missing from the pictures.

As the people are made to wait for Amarinder to reach at the rally venue, huge projector screens play his speech in the Vidhan Sabha when he had challenged Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa to come to Punjab and also took on Pakistan against Pulwama terror attack. The clip shows lush green agricultural fields in Punjab, with Amarinder amidst people with “Sara Punjab Captain De Naal” jingle playing in the background.

Amarinder is not contesting in the Lok Sabha election, but he is addressing rallies for all party candidates by travelling across the state.

In the rallies, he is seen taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Bhartiya Janata Party calling the Indian Army as “meri fauj” and “Modi ji ki sena” and tells the audience that they have to decide whether they would like BJP government or Congress government in Centre. “You should know this is desh ki fauj. I have been a fauji,” he tells the audience amid applause and chants of “Sara Punjab Captain de Naal.”

He takes on the centre for demonetisation, GST, and asks the audience if they had got Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts.

On Wednesday, while addressing a rally in Mehmadpura village in Patiala, Amarinder recalled former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi as “honhaar, pyara and vadhiya insaan” and takes on Modi for his comments against Rajiv Gandhi even when he was no more alive.

After Modi, he takes on former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and says he was responsible for firing in Behbal Kalan. Recalling the old days when the firing took place killing and injuring agitators against Bargari sacrilege, Amarinder said he would take strong action in the case and promises that he would transfer former SIT member Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, first thing after the code of conduct is lifted.

In the end, he asks people to vote for Congress and strengthen hands of Rahul Gandhi.

In yet another party jingle, weaved around Amarinder, that has raised many eyebrows, the lyrics credit the CM for bringing Punjab back on track with India being projected as the next mission. The jingle runs: “Punjab nu paya leehan te, hun mulk di ayi baari hai, khushaal banana Bharat nu hun khich li phul teyari hai (Punjab is back on the rails and it is the turn of India now. Preparation is in full swing to make India prosperous.)”