Speaking at a rally in Jalandhar, Punjab PM Modi consigned Congress to history and claimed the party was on its last breath and that after ’70 years of destructive politics’, Punjab would choose the ‘politics of development’. Speaking in the presence of CM Parkash Singh Badal, PM Modi said that Punjab is the land of the brave and spiritual gurus and that Punjabis had never shied away from sacrificing for the nation.
He praised CM Badal’s long-standing career, claiming he had given his entire life to Punjab. He said: “Badal ji has had the honour of being both India’s youngest chief minister at a time, and today he is the senior most chief minister of an Indian state.” Adding that the Badal has sacrificed his entire life for the state he said he couldn’t recall a meeting with Badal where he hadn’t discussed the problems of the poor and farmers.
Reserving his strongest words for the main opposition in the state, he claimed that nation would choose development over destructive politics for 70 years. The PM also spoke about the state’s contribution to the military and said that the BJP had fulfilled its promise of implementing One Rank One Pension scheme for ex-servicemen.
Earlier, Congress vice-principal Rahul Gandhi hit out at BJP while announcing that Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh will be the party’s chief ministerial face in the high-stakes Assembly polls. 74-year-old Amarinder, who is fighting his last election, will be the next Chief Minister, if the party forms government in Punjab. Rahul, addressing the rally in the pocket-borough of Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia, said Amarinder alone can change Punjab and set it right along with the support of the people of the state and there is no other way out.
Ruling SAD and AAP have been mocking Congress, asking why the party was not declaring Amarinder as its chief ministerial candidate for the February 4 Assembly polls. “Punjab will be run by its people. I want to tell you that Punjab’s chief minister will be from Punjab and Punjab’s chief minister is sitting here. Amarinder Singh is Punjab’s chief ministerial candidate and he will be Punjab’s chief minister,” he said, prompting leaders to congratulate Amarinder on the dais.
Rahul said Punjab will not be run by “remote control” as it does not need one, taking a veiled dig at Kejriwal and accusing him of wanting to become Delhi and Punjab chief minister at the same time. He also made a scathing attack on the ruling Badals, accusing them of ruining Punjab and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of siding with them and talking of removing corruption.
Rahul, who began his three-day election tour to the poll-bound state by addressing his first public meeting in the presence of Amarinder and Navjot Singh Sidhu, also attacked AAP and Kejriwal of trying to befool the people of the state by making false and empty promises.
The Congress leader said this election is not to “form a government but to save Punjabiyat” and Punjab’s honour and only Congress with the help of people of the state can do it.
He also said if Congress comes to power, then the government will bring a law to deal with the drug menace in the state and put all those carrying out drugs business behind bars.