New Delhi : Welcoming the single-phase poll plan and the imposition of the Code of Conduct by the Election Commission in the state, Punjab Congress President Captain Amarinder expressed the confidence that the party would win more than 70 seats to emerge the clear winner in the Assembly polls, scheduled for Feb 4.
Dismissing any competition from either the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) or the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Capt. Amarinder described drugs, corruption and the migovernance of the Badal government as the key issues in these polls, which he said would be determined by the anti-incumbency factor against the Badals and the total collapse of AAP as a movement that had earlier inspired people.
Confident of 70+ seats for Congress, says no opposition from SAD, AAP
While the SAD government led by the Badals had completely destroyed trade, industry and agriculture in the state, which was today gripped by unemployment and a host of other serious problems, Arvind Kejriwal’s party was in a mess with outsiders such as Sanjay Singh unable to save it from inevitable defeat in the polls, said Captain Amarinder. He said people had no faith left in AAP after witnessing their conduct in Punjab and their failed governance in Delhi.
With serious charges of corruption, sale of tickets, molestation of girls etc, AAP had no standing left in the state, said Capt. Amarinder. He also stated that Kejriwal was scared to contest elections in Punjab but was wanting to be the chief minister, in case his party won.
Charging Kejriwal of colluding with the Badals and deliberately fielding a weak candidate like Jarnail Singh to help them, Captain Amarinder said it was evident that AAP was finished in Punjab.
Talking to media persons, Capt. Amarinder said in response to a question that he would be happy to fight against another Army man, General JJ Singh, but pointed out that General Singh had no connect whatsoever with Patiala. “He says Patiala is his 'nanke'. And, as the saying goes, hum unko naani yaad dila denge,” said Captain Amarinder in a lighter vein.
Responding to questions, he said former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was very happy with the Congress manifesto for Punjab. The manifesto, he said, was a comprehensive document which would lay the roadmap for the party to fight against the major problems facing the people, including drugs, corruption, unemployment etc.
To another question, Captain Amarinder Singh said Navjot Singh Sidhu would soon be joining the Congress and accused Kejriwal of spreading disinformation on the issue in a desperate bid to undermine his (Captain’s) role in the Congress. Kejriwal should worry about his own party, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the AAP leader was evidently scared of him.
The PPCC chief said while it was up to Sidhu and his wife to decide who wanted to contest from Amritsar East, the party would utilize his services to campaign in the entire state.
On the drugs issue, Captain Amarinder reiterated that he had opposed handing over investigations against Bikram Singh Majithia to the CBI since other agencies were already probing the case and roping in CBI would have only caused delays.
He denied any infighting in the allocation of party tickets, saying the entire party was one in its fight to save Punjab from the misrule of the Badals and the nefarious designs of AAP. The remaining tickets, he said, would be announced soon.
Captain Amarinder hailed the imposition of the Code of Conduct by the Election Commission as an important step to prevent further vitiation of Punjab’s poll atmosphere, which the Badal government had virtually destroyed with its anti-people policies and power-obsessed actions.
He also welcomed the Election Commission decision to hold the Assembly polls in Punjab in a single phase and thanked them for accepting his suggestion on this count. Given the stranglehold of the Badals in every government department and other vital institutions, such as the police, and the goonda raj perpetuated by them in the state, holding polls in multiple phases would have been detrimental to the conduct of free and fair elections, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the ruling combine would have got time to shift its armed goondas from one constituency to another in multi-phased voting.
Responding to a question, Capt. Amarinder Singh said he would request Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, Vice President, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka to campaign for the party in Punjab.