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Punjab Elections 2017: Captains face off likely as Amarinder Singh looks to contest against Punjab CM

Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh on Saturday said he has sought the party high command’s permission to fight the upcoming Assembly election from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s assembly constituency of Lambi to ensure the “total defeat” of the Akali leadership in the state.

Amarinder was talking to reporters here to welcome into the Congress fold former AAP leader Daljit Singh. He said he wanted to fight against the Chief Minister on his home turf as he wished to defeat all the top Akali leaders “responsible for destroying the state through drugs, mafia and the goonda raj”. The PPCC chief said he had requested the Congress high command to allow him to fight the Assembly polls from Lambi so that he could free Punjab from the “vicious and destructive rule of the Badals”. He said he desired to fight both Lambi and Patiala, if permitted by the party.

“The entire state is in shambles,” Amarinder alleged and lambasted Badal as well as his family and associates for bringing Punjab to such a “shameful state”. The former Punjab chief minister cited the example of the Nabha jail break to point out how “goondas were being allowed a free run in the state to help the Akalis during the polls”. Amarinder said if Congress forms the government in the state, it would open a probe into all Akali scams and punish every person found guilty of any criminal deed, especially drug trade”.

Reiterating his opposition to “use of violence” against the Badals, he urged the people to “vent their frustration and anger” against the Akalis through the ballot. The PPCC president said the schemes he had launched for the welfare of the people would be strictly implemented and he would fulfill every single promise made to the state, including waiver of farm loans, one job in each household and mobile phones to youth. The former Lok Sabha MP said the Congress government would renegotiate the interest rates on farm loans and settle them in a way that the burdened farmers do not have to pay a single penny from their pockets.

Asserting that his party was committed to the state’s welfare, Amarinder pointed out that he had resigned from his Lok Sabha membership for the “cause of Punjab’s water”. He said he needed two-third majority to ensure that he is able to meet all his targets for the state’s welfare and asked the people to use their votes judiciously in the best interest of Punjab. Replying to a question, the PPCC chief said the nation would never allow Mahatma Gandhi’s picture on the Indian currency notes to be replaced with that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and any suggestion to this effect was a sign of sycophancy.