Dubbing these assembly polls as a vote for stability versus communalism and radicalism, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday cast his vote in Patiala, exuding confidence of a clean sweep in the elections across the entire state, including the Malwa region, which poll pundits had been propping up as an AAP stronghold.Voters in his hometown of Patiala rushed to welcome Captain Amarinder, as he arrived with his family at the Govt. College for Women to exercise his franchise, with the promise of ushering in the much-needed new dawn (navan savera) in the state.From the elderly to the youth, men and women crowded around the Congress candidate from Patiala Urban to shower their love and wishes on the chief ministerial candidate, pinning their hopes on his leadership to steer Punjab through the abyss of darkness in which they had been living for the past 10 years under the Akali regime.For many of the voters at the booth, it was a moment to be cherished, which they were quick to capture by getting themselves clicked with Captain Amarinder, in whom they clearly saw the next chief minister and `messiah’ of Punjab.
Talking to mediapersons before casting the ballot, Captain Amarinder termed the elections as a vote for peace, communal harmony and stability, asserting that the people of Punjab wanted the experience and expertise of the Congress to get the state back on the rails of progress and development. The people, he said, had voted for stability versus communal and radical politics.Captain Amarinder dismissed any threat from either the Shiromani Akali (SAD), which had ripped apart the state’s social, religious and economic fiber in the past 10 years, or the Aam Admi Party (AAP), whose popularity graph had shown a drastic decline in the past two-three years with the exposure of their misdeeds and failures.The people of Punjab have not forgotten Badals' attempts to polarize them on communal lines through the incidents of sacrilege, said the PPCC president, also ruling out competition from AAP, saying the Arvind Kejriwal’s party’s purported popularity was nothing more than a media creation. The party’s euphoric entry into Punjab during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was the result of the hype over its agitation in Delhi, which had found resonance in Punjab’s frustrated youth, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the hype had since faded and the party had lost its appeal completely.
Even voters in the Malwa belt, which some analysts had optimistically started describing as AAP’s platform to success in Punjab assembly polls, were completely disillusioned by Kejriwal and his cronies, who had been utterly exposed in their nefarious designs for the state, said Captain Amarinder. The Punjab Congress president, who is also pitted against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from the latter’s stronghold of Lambi, said his reports indicated a wave for the Congress across the state, with Malwa no exception.People don’t want SAD’s mafia and communal ideology, nor do they want AAP’s radical extremism, asserted Captain Amarinder, brimming with confidence as he spoke about the humungous response received by the Congress in the run-up to the polls, which he said would decide the future of Punjab and its people.People have voted for securing the future of their children, he said, adding that the Punjab stood at the brink of positive change, which the Congress was all set to provide it.