New Delhi : Reiterating that the ex-cricketer would be joining the party soon, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday made it clear that Navjot Singh Sidhu’s decision to join the Congress was unconditional, with no strings attached, and asserted that any decision on having a deputy chief minister in the state would be taken by the AICC president and vice president at the appropriate time.
Talking to a group of select mediapersons during the rejoining of former Congress leader Darbari Lal here, Captain Amarinder said Sidhu would be the party’s candidate for Amritsar East, as announced by his wife. The delay in his joining, said Captain Amarinder, was on account of his professional commitments, which he wanted to conclude before getting into the election gear.
On the reason for the delay in the remaining tickets, which he said would be announced today, Captain Amarinder said the party’s central leadership had five states to look after, which naturally led to some delays in the decision-making process. He ruled out tickets for outsiders except where Congress did not have its own strong candidates.
On Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia’s projection of Arvind Kejriwal as the Punjab chief ministerial candidate, Captain Amarinder said the Delhi chief minister’s gameplan had been completely exposed and it was clear that he wanted to become the chief minister of Punjab without even contesting the polls. The people of Punjab will never hand over the reins of the state to a Haryanvi who could not be trusted to protect their interests, said the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief.
Rejecting Akali and AAP criticism of the Congress manifesto for the Punjab Assembly polls, Captain Amarinder said they could not be expected to appreciate the document. The manifesto, which had the stamp of approval of a world-renowned economist like Dr. Manmohan Singh, had been prepared by former Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal and former state deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and was a perfect document, he added.
The PPCC president once again declared his avowed intention of punishing all involved in drug trade within four weeks of coming to power. “Lamba pa dayan ge sab nunh,” he promised, making it clear that he would not allow any laxity in the matter.
However, Captain Amarinder termed the incident of shoe throwing on Parkash Singh Badal, and the earlier stone-pelting on Sukhbir Badal’s convoy, as regrettable, but added that it was the pent-up anger of the people coming to the fore. He urged the people to use the ballot to avenge themselves against Badals for the atrocities unleashed on them over the past 10 years. It
In response to a question, Captain Amarinder reiterated his commitment to end the VVIP culture in the state, which he said was the need of the hour. With cops working on VIP duty, there was serious shortage of constables in the districts, which in turn led to them working 12-18 hours in a day, said the PPCC president, adding that police welfare would be high on the party’s agenda, as promised in its manifesto.
To another question, Captain Amarinder called for an inquiry into the BSF jawan’s video claiming inadequate food provisions for the personnel of the force, saying on the face of it the situation projected in the video seemed real and the BSF should be held responsible for it.