Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ruled out an alliance with any party, asserting that the Congress would sweep the assembly elections with 2/3rds majority.
Dismissing as ridiculous the charges leveled by Arvind Kejriwal that he had decided to contest Lambi, which in any case was part of Patiala estate till 1930, to help Parkash Singh Badal, Captain Amarinder said the AAP leader was talking through his head without a rational thought in his mind. First he said I should fight Badal and now he says I’m helping the chief minister by contesting against him, said Captain Amarinder, describing Kejriwal’s statements as ludicrous and making it clear that his decision to contest Lambi was not in response to any perceived or real challenge from Kejriwal but was motivated only by his desire to save the people of Punjab from the Badals.
Lashing out at Kejriwal for his baseless allegations against the Congress, Captain Amarinder asked how the Akalis and the Congress could be in collusion, as alleged by the AAP leader, when they were out to defeat each other in the polls.
Responding to a wide range of questions from mediapersons before setting out to file his nomination papers from Patiala, Captain Amarinder asserted that both Patiala and Lambi were important constituencies for him and a decision on which he would quit would be taken at the appropriate time.
He, however, made it clear that development of Patiala would remain high on his agenda and his government would allocate funds and revive the Patiala development authority for the welfare of the region.
In response to a question, Captain Amarinder said his wife and sitting MLA Preneet Kaur, who had made for him in the assembly polls under the `one-family-one-ticket’ rule, would be contesting in the parliamentary elections.
Captain Amarinder dismissed any serious threat from General JJ Singh, whom the Akalis had pitted against him in Patiala, saying he was always an average cadet and a bogus man who became the chief of the army staff due to his seniority, without any caliber to back. Having been made army chief and then a governor by the UPA, he was now claiming to have been upset by Operation Bluestar, exposing himself to be the fraud he is, said the PPCC president.
Captain Amarinder clarified in response to a question that he could not be present in New Delhi for Navjot Singh Sidhu’s joining of the Congress as he was busy campaigning in Punjab. He cited his strong Patiala connection with Sidhu, whom he had known since he was a kid, to make it clear that there was no tension between him and the ex-cricketer, who had joined the Congress unconditionally.
Sidhu’s role, and his own for that matter, would be decided by the Congress high command, said Captain Amarinder, adding that he and Sidhu would be campaigning for the party through a joint road show in Amritsar on 19th January. He reiterated that Sidhu would be a star campaigner for the Congress in the Punjab polls.
To another question, Captain Amarinder said there was no change of candidates on any seats, except some SC seats, and the party was sticking to its stand of giving one ticket in one family and also to its winnability criteria.
On the SYL issue, Captain Amarinder once again asserted that his government would bring a new legislation to protect the water rights of Punjab and will make sure that not a single drop of water leaves the state.
Earlier, Captain Amarinder welcomed into the Congress several key AAP leaders, who said they had decided to quit Kejriwal’s party when they realized that it was misleading the people under the garb of `inquilaab’. Only Captain Amarinder could save the people from AAP’s poisonous intentions, they added.
The joinees, who were part of the AAP Screening Committee that was allotting seats to candidates under Dr. Dharam Vir Gandhi, MP Patiala, included Dr. Karamjit Singh (Retd IAS), Kabul Singh (AAP Legal Wing, Khadur Sahib), Ram Kamboj (AAP Intellectual Wing, Khadur Sahib), Babu Singh Brar (AAP Intellectual Wing, Fardikot) and Surinder Singh (AAP volunteer from Ferozepur).