Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday came down heavily on the Congress, comparing it with a sinking boat. "Will Punjab even think of getting into a sinking boat, which has nothing to offer,” Modi said at a joint election rally with Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patron Parkash Singh Badal here.
The SAD and Bharatiya Janata Party run an alliance government in Punjab since 2007.
Earlier today, Congress vice-president accused the Badals of "hurting” Punjab with their policies. He accused them of distributing Punjab’s resources among themselves and also failing to act on the drug menace ailing the state.
"The Congress has no principles or rules. To survive politically, the Congress, which joined hands with the Communists in West Bengal earlier after opposing them for decades, has now joined hands with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh," Modi said.
"The country has seen the politics of destruction for 70 years and the youths of this country are suffering due to it. If you want to do politics, do politics of development," Modi said while challenging the opposition parties to change the political discourse in the country.
During his address, Modi also raised topics like One Rank One Pension for defence personnel, Indus water, the Army’s surgical strikes, and the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
"We implemented the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme. They (Congress) had kept it on hold for 48 years,” said Modi.
Talking about his fight against corruption, Modi said people who had accumulated black money in the last 70 years were affected by (demonetisation) action initiated by his government against the corrupt.
Referring to the controversial Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, the Prime Minister said Punjab river waters were for its farmers only.
"We will bring the water of Indus river, which is flowing into Pakistan, for the farmers of this country," Modi said.
The Prime Minister said that in recent years, attempts were made to defame Punjab, its brave people and its youths and urged the people to beware of people doing it.
"Punish them (those defaming Punjab) in such a way that no one can point a finger at Punjab. This election is an opportunity to reject those trying to defame Punjab," Modi said.
Pointing out that Punjab's pride has been hurt, Modi lamented: "I cannot visualise that politics will stoop to such low levels."
The Prime Minister also called Punjab the crown of India. He said families in Punjab were the most elated with the news of surgical strikes along the Line of Control in September last year. "Punjab is the land of sacrifice and bravery,” he added.
Although Modi did not formally announce incumbent chief minister Parkash Singh Badal as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate, he did shower praise on him. "Punjab wants to see Parkash Singh Badal as the CM again, he has always worked for Punjab,” said Modi. Punjab will have its polls for all 117 Assembly seats on February 4 while the counting will take place on March 11.