Chandigarh : Asserting that he knew how to deal with them, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday launched a scathing attack on the Badals and other Akali leaders, including Bikramjit Singh Majithia, saying he would put behind bars all those found guilty of drug smuggling and patronizing drug mafia.
Addressing a press conference here on the occasion of the joining of several Akali, AAP and BJP leaders, including Kamalji Singh Karwal and Yamini Gomar, Captain Amarinder lambasted the Badals and Majithia for wreaking havoc on the people of Punjab.
From transport to drugs to sand, cable TV, liquor etc, there was nothing that the Akalis had not seized control of to promote their own vested interests, Captain Amarinder observed, vowing to wipe out all these mafias immediately after coming to power.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs, Asha Kumari, was also present on the occasion.
Rubbishing allegations that his government had, during his previous tenure as chief minister, banned all recruitments and appointments in the state, the Punjab Congress president accused the Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of indulging in malicious propaganda against the Congress.
Captain Amarinder accused SAD and AAP of trying to mislead the people with their disinformation campaign, which they had unleashed in a desperate bid to counter the growing public support in favour of the Congress.
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president recalled that not only had his government created job opportunities for 20 lakh youth but had also recruited thousands of government employees, teachers, doctors, nurses and others.
The Badal-led SAD as well as the AAP leaders were deliberately spreading falsehoods about the job scenario during his chief ministerial tenure, said Captain Amarinder, explaining that recruitments were kept in abeyance for some time as there was no money in the treasury when he took over the government reins back in 2002. “Had we not done so, Punjab would have plunged into an even deeper financial crisis than my government had inherited from the Akalis,” he added
However, after the ban was listed, his government had appointed 49,314 government employees, 12000 teachers through PRI, besides other teachers, doctors, nurses etc, Captain Amarinder pointed out, adding that neither the Badals nor AAP’s HS Phoolka had an iota of knowledge and were simply talking out of their hat.
Promising to review all political appointments made by the Badals with an eye on the forthcoming Assembly elections, Captain Amarinder reiterated that no government employee jobs would be reviewed as his party was committed to providing employment to every family in the state.
To a question regarding budgets for implementing the various promises made to farmers and other cross-sections of the society, Captain Amarinder said the party would think out of the box to come up with ingenuous ideas to build the treasury and generate money for the various welfare schemes for the people.
Responding to a question on the infighting and delay in ticket allocation in the Congress, Captain Amarinder dismissed it as a myth being created by the Badals and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal. Both the parties have come out with multiple lists so far and yet not completed the ticket allocation process, he pointed out.
The Indian National Congress leadership had to finalise candidates not just for Punjab but also the other states going to the polls early next year, which was a time-consuming process, Captain Amarinder explained, denying allegations that he was not getting a free hand in ticket allotment.
Replying to a media query as to why Manpreet Badal was made Congress nominee from Bathinda Urban, ignoring a Hindu face in Surinder Singla, the PPCC president said that Singla was not keeping well.
On the Kharar assembly segment, Captain Amarinder said, "AAP candidate Kanwar Sandhu nu kuttna hai. Usde layi takda banda chahida se, iss karke Jagmohan Kang nu ticket ditti hai (In order to ensure that Kanwar Sandhu bites the dust, a strong candidate Jagmohan Singh Kang has been fielded)."
On former Haryana chief minister Bhupendra Hooda’s remark that he would campaign for the Congress in Punjab only if the PPCC president gave an assurance on SYL water sharing, Captain Amarinder said there was no question of sharing river water when Punjab itself had no surplus. “He can come or not come, as he wishes,” said Captain Amarinder, adding that the interests of the people of Punjab would be kept supreme.
Regarding Bhagwant Mann’s statement that the NDA government at the Centre would continue to pursue the alleged Swiss bank accounts case against him and his family, and would put him in jail, Captain Amarinder pointed out that they had been investigating the case for the past two years. He challenged them to prove the allegations if they can.
To a question regarding Navjot Singh Sidhu joining Congress, Captain Amarinder said he and Sidhu were yet to sit together and discuss the modalities of his joining. The Amritsar East seat has been kept aside for the Sidhu couple, and we have left it to them to decide whether Mr. Sidhu or Mrs. Sidhu would like to contest from there on Congress ticket, he added.