CAPTAIN AMARINDER Singh, Punjab Congress chief, Tuesday filed his nomination papers from Patiala Assembly constituency and said he was determined to defeat Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi constituency “to send a signal to all Chief Ministers in the country that they cannot get away with nonsense”.
In his customary way, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President first paid obeisance at the temple and gurdwara in the historic Qila Mubarak in the city before going to pay his respects at the Kali Mata Temple and Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib respectively, before he filed his nomination papers.
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Speaking to The Indian Express at his Moti Bagh Palace residence, Amarinder said he was not fighting from Lambi for symbolism but with a purpose: “to teach Badal a lesson for having feathered his nest”.
“You (Badal) have been five-time Chief Minister of this state and this is what you do to Punjab? Mafia, drugs, no
law and order: This is all he has done. If we can defeat Badal, it will be a signal to all CMs in the county that people will not accept nonsense,” he said.
The former Punjab Chief Minister also declared that he was quite sure that the Shiromani Akali Dal will not get more than 20 seats in the assembly elections while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will get not more than 30 seats.
“I am quite happy with the ticket distribution this time apart from one or two instances where local considerations have to be taken care of,” he said. When asked why the SAD president, Sukhbir Badal, was still appearing cheerful about the chances of victory by the SAD-BJP alliance, Amarinder said, “Sukhbir thinks that he can micromanage the elections. But he is mistaken. It is not going to happen.”
When asked about the delayed induction of Navjot Singh Sidhu into the party, Amarinder said, “He is a bit superstitious and had chosen a particular date on which he wanted to join. He consulted someone and then joined on the day decided. When I spoke to him some days ago, he was in high spirits. He will certainly be a force multiplier for the party in the state,” he said.
Capt Amarinder had sharp words to say about his opponent from SAD, General J J Singh (retd) stating that it was a pity that such a man rose to become the Army chief after illustrious predecessors such as Field Marshal Carriappa and General K S Thimayya.
“I saw a video where he was using Punjabi abuses and was slurring. I think he had had one drink too many,” he alleged. He added that JJ was always an “average” cadet who became the chief of the army staff due to his seniority, without any calibre to back him.
“Having been made army chief and then a governor by the UPA, he was now claiming to have been upset by Operation Bluestar, exposing himself to be the fraud he is, alleged Amarinder.
Amarinder said Patiala was where his political career began and that he would like to end it here too.
However, he said both Patiala and Lambi were important constituencies for him and a decision on which he would quit would be taken at the appropriate time.
The state Congress chief also organised a large road show through the town later in the day which passed through all major localities.
Standing in a flower bedecked jeep, accompanied by the Congress general secretary in-charge of Punjab, Asha Kumari, he was led though the time in a festive atmosphere by Congress supporters. Tomorrow, on the last day of filing nominations for the assembly polls, he will file his nomination papers for Lambi in Malout.