A day ahead of swearing-in of Captain Amarinder Singh as next Chief Minister of Punjab, former CM and former deputy CM, the father-son duo of Badals, said Wednesday their party SAD would continue to call the shots in Punjab despite change of guard. Touring his constituency to thank voters for electing him again from Lambi, outgoing CM Parkash Singh Badal referred to NDA government at the Centre led by ally BJP and said SAD had “direct contact with Centre Government”. He also pointed that Harsimrat Kaur Badal, his daughter-in-law, was a cabinet minister in the Union government and assured people they would get their work done as they did earlier.
Even as a major bureaucratic shake-up is imminent after Amarinder takes over as CM on Thursday, Badal said that from 1997 to 2017, the SAD-BJP combine ruled for 15 years and hence most of the government officers were personally known to him. “Even now, they will listen to me more than they listen Amarinder,” Badal said.
In Gidderbaha, SAD president Sukhbir Badal was equally aggressive. “Only in name raj (rule) is not yours, otherwise it is your raj (rule) only,” he told party workers. “We are one family… if anyone faces hardship, let us know…aisi di taisi (we will hit back hard),” Sukhbir told a gathering of Akalis.
In an apparent reference to welcoming leaders shifting loyalties from other parties, Sukhbir said taking such leaders into party fold and welcoming them with siropas was one of the reasons for the defeat of SAD. He said SAD would refrain from such practice in future.
On his claims of ruling State for 25-years, Sukhbir said he stood by what he said, but those 25 years meant ruling in batches. “Like we ruled for 10 years. Now there is rest of 5 years. We will again rule for 10 years,” he said.
Meanwhile, during his tour to villages in Lambi to thank voters, the senior Badal said, “I doubt that the new government will be able to fulfil their promises ever and soon masses will come to know the reality and I am sure that they will start making lame excuse of empty coffers to do no works.”
Badal went to villages Dhaula, Sirajwala, Lambi, Channu and few other villages to meet the villagers and SAD workers where he addressed small public meetings.
He said, “Though Congress came into power, but they could not win Lambi and Jalalabad despite tall claims. Amarinder came to Lambi with a claim that he will defeat me. But that did not happen.”
“Congress has done no good with Punjabis. Earlier it used to label Punjabis as terrorists and now as drug addicts. They were responsible for 1984 riots, Operation Bluestar. Punjab has suffered a lot because of this party. People will come to know about their reality soon,” the outgoing CM said.
Badal said he would stay active in his constituency.