Taking the SAD-BJP combine head-on over the sacrilege issue, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday warned of strong action against the culprits behind the Bargari and other cases of desecration of the holy scriptures.Recalling his earlier visit to the region, which was rocked by a spate of sacrilege incidents and the 2015 Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura firing incidents, Gandhi said those who insulted religious scriptures did not deserve any mercy.Two people were killed and many others injured in Behbal Kalan village on October 15, 2015, when police resorted to unprovoked firing on hundreds of people protesting the alleged desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari village in Faridkot days ago.Addressing rallies, along with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, in support of the Congress candidate Mohammad Sadique from Faridkot and Ravneet Singh Bittu from Ludhiana, Gandhi lambasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for insulting Punjab, and the rest of India, by claiming that no development was done in 70 years and the nation was sleeping till he came to power."Where were you when the Punjab farmers were driving the Green Revolution?" he asked Modi, lashing out at the Prime Minister for believing that he alone could run the country.It is the people of India who are running the country with their blood and sweat, he said, asserting that the Congress believed in taking every Indian, irrespective of caste, region, community, along for the development of the nation.While reiterating employment generation and farmer welfare as the key priorities of the Congress, the Congress President reached out to the people in Ludhiana with the promise to put all the party's strength into reviving small and medium businesses.India cannot challenge China without 'Made in Ludhiana', which has to be an integral part of 'Make in India', he said, adding that without reviving small and medium businesses even employment generation could not be successful.Listing NYAY, a separate farmers' budget, and promise of employment for youth as the major planks of the Congress manifesto, Gandhi said the Modi government had not only failed the people on all counts but had stolen money from the people to fill the pockets of a handful of rich industrialists.
Questioning what had happened to Modi's promise of 'achche din', he said after five years Modi was not talking of any subject on which he had come to power, including jobs, Rs 15 lakh in individual bank accounts, doubling of farm income and corruption.From making fun of Manmohan Singh and his progressive economic policies, Modi had ended up becoming the butt of India's joke in five years, having cheated the nation with his brazen lies and open deception. Modi had ruined the nation's economy, which NYAY would revive, said Gandhi.Modi's fear was showing in his pre-written media interviews with prepared answers to planned questions, said Gandhi, ridiculing the Prime Minister over his 'personal' interview, in which he spoke only of irrelevant things like how he eats mangoes and how he fits his clothes into the suitcase.Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, in his address, asked the people to decide if they wanted the current Prime Minister, who thinks like the Akalis and tries to destroy the nation's secular fabric by trying to polarise the people, or someone who respects all religions and considers all Indians as one.The Chief Minister lashed out at the Akalis for destroying Punjab's economy, which his government was trying to revive with the limited resources available to them.Despite the fiscal crunch, his government had launched the farm loan waiver scheme, becoming the only state to give up to Rs 2 lakh under it.He reiterated his demand for in toto implementation of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee report to make agriculture remunerative for farmers.