AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday stormed Sukhbir Badal’s stronghold of Jalalabad, terming him the `king of corruption’ in India and warning the people of Punjab against the false promises of the dictatorial Arvind Kejriwal, saying Captain Amarinder Singh alone could resolve the problems plaguing the state and bring it back on the rails of progress.Captain Amarinder would change the face of Punjab, which had been completely devastated by the corrupt and tyrannical Badals, in just two years after taking over as chief minister, Rahul promised the people, saying every section of the society would progress under the Congress, which was the only party concerned about the poor.Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal for making all kinds of false promises to the people of the country and Delhi, respectively, Rahul said the Congress did not believe in making such fake promises but was committed to delivering on all its promises.
Referring to Modi’s promises of putting Rs. 15 lakhs in every poor person’s account and fighting corruption through demonetisation, Rahul said anyone can make such false promises but Punjab needed development, not tall claims. He also hit out at Kejriwal’s complete failure in fulfilling any of his promises in Delhi, saying the people of the national capital could endorse the poor performance of AAP government there.Rahul lashed out at Modi for sharing the dais with India’s most corrupt man (Sukhbir Badal) after claiming to be fighting against corruption, and said neither the prime minister nor the Delhi chief minister could be trusted to look after the concerns of Punjabis.Lashing out at Kejriwal, Rahul said he was eyeing Punjab’s chief ministership as he wanted to run away from Delhi, where he had been thoroughly exposed. Drawing parallels being the dictatorial way in which Modi was running the country and Kejriwal’s performance in Delhi, Rahul asked the people of Punjab to take their promises with a pinch of salt.Pointing out that Punjab gives strength to India and the ethos of Punjabiyat is known the world over, Rahul said the Badals had left no stone unturned to ruin that ethos. The Congress workers, over the past one decade, had been fighting the tyranny of the Badals who had taken control of all the state’s businesses and major assets, transforming Punjab’s culture of giving (tera hai) into the culture of taking (mera hai), he added, amid loud cheers.
The Badals had forced industry out of the state with their corrupt policies, while unemployed youth were being pushed into drugs, with no jobs available to them without kickbacks to the Akalis, said Rahul, reiterating that under Captain Amarinder’s leadership, the Congress government in Punjab would throw all drug dealers and peddlers into jail and confiscate the properties of all those, including the Badals, who had ruined Punjab and its youth.Rahul urged all sections of Punjab, from workers to Dalits and small famers, to join hands with the Congress to save the state.Captain Amarinder, in his address, said the enthusiastic crowd at the venue showed that the Congress would sweep the polls. “Vade nu te main Lambi vich sut kar rahanga (I will throw Senior Badal out in Lambi),” he said, adding that Sukhbir would be wiped out in Jalalabad by the people. He explained that he had chosen to contest his last election from Patiala, where he started his political career, but had decided to also fight from Lambi to reach Badal a lesson.Lamenting the stranglehold on Punjab by the Akali mafias, who had looted and plundered the state and forcibly taken over all businesses, Captain Amarinder promised to punish the Badals and their associates who had unleashed a rein of terror in Punjab.
The anger of the people was palpable and the SAD would be completely out of Punjab in these elections, said Capt Amarinder, adding that the people were fed up of their criminal rule and their attempts to polarize the state on communal lines.Vowing to throw into jail all those who had disgraced religion through sacrilege and had been looting and victimizing people, Captain Amarinder promised to restore Punjab to its lost glory. The Akalis had pushed industry away from the state, while trade and agriculture was in the doldrums, with debt-ridden farmers resorting to suicide, said Captain Amarinder, promising waiver of all farm loans and priority measures to revive industry.Dismissing AAP as inexperienced, with not a single person with knowledge of governance, Captain Amarinder lashed out at Kejriwal for refusing to contest polls or even debate with him, despite his repeated challenges. The AAP, he said, had been a total failure in Delhi – a fact that people could easily verify from their relatives and friends in the national capital.Delhi, under AAP’s governance, was in a mess with teachers not being regularized, doctors not getting their salaries and 19 MLAs of the party behind bars on corruption and rape charges, said Capt Amarinder, warning the people against experimenting if they wanted the revival of Punjab.
“After first challenging me to contest against Badal, Kejriwal is now alleging that I am helping the Akali stalwart,” Captain Amarinder pointed out, adding that the AAP had absolutely no credibility and no concern for Punjab. As a bunch of outsiders they will never stand by Punjab and would ensure completion of SYL, causing 10 lakh acres of land, including Jalalabad to go dry, he warned.Promising a `navan savera’ (new dawn), Captain Amarinder urged the people to join hands with the Congress to defeat the likes of SAD’s Sukhbir and AAP’s Bhagwant Mann.Earlier, describing Captain Amarinder as the pradhan (chief) of the party and the chief-minister-to-be of the state, the Congress star campaigner and Amritsar East candidate Navjot Singh Sidhu said Akali Dal would become `Khali Dal’ after the polls.Contrary to their slogan `Raj Nahin Sewa’, SAD had become a party of 10% sewa and 90% mewa, he quipped, adding that the Badals had looted Punjab for 10 years and had ruined the state. It was time to unceremoniously throw them out, he said, dismissing their manifesto promises a bunch of lies.Pointing out that Rahul Gandhi had already promised that the money robbed by the Badals would be returned to the people of Punjab and the harshest possible punishment would be given to the drug dealers, Sidhu said the properties of all those who had looted Punjab would be confiscated, just as had been done in Bihar.
“The Akalis reign of terror is like what was unleashed by the Chautalas in Haryana, and see where they are today,” said Sidhu, citing the false cases and other crimes against the people of Punjab under the Badal rule.Sidhu also lambasted the AAP for its designs on Punjab, saying after the East India Company looted the country now it was the AAP which wanted to come from Delhi to loot Punjab through remote control. He exhorted the people to ask Kejriwal who would be there CM candidate, and added that he was offered Deputy CM post by the AAP leader but he had demanded to know who the CM candidate would be, which Kejriwal failed to answer.Kejriwal was a liar who allied with the Congress after swearing on his children that he would not do so, said Sidhu, warning the people that AAP would try to buy their votes and self-pride with money, liquor etc.Congress candidate from Jalalabad, Ravneet Bittu, in his speech, said the fight in these polls was between ‘lootera parivar and marytr’s family’. While his grandfather Beant Singh had laid his life for Punjab, said Bittu, Sukhbir was nothing more than a corrupt `lootanwala and kuttanwala’ person (looter and thrasher).Referring to the growing incident of sacrilege, he asked the people if they wanted to avenge such communal polarization, to which the crowd gave a enthusiastic thumbs up.On the occasion, other family members of Akali MP Sher Singh Ghubaya, whose son Davinder is contesting on a Congress ticket, joined the Punjab Congress, alleging terrorization and victimization at the hands of the Badals.