Former Union Minister of State for Home and senior AICC spokesman Shakeel Ahmed on Tuesdaydismissed any contest for the Congress from either the Akali Dal or the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), saying the two parties were fighting each other for the second and third place, with the Congress the clear winner in the Punjab election scene.
Describing Arvind Kejriwal as `small Modi’ and Prime Minister Narendra Modi as `big Kejriwal’, Shakeel Ahmed said the people of Punjab do not trust either of them and were also not willing to trust the Akalis after 10 years of their misrule.
Addressing a press conference here, Ahmed, who is in Punjab to support the Congress campaign, questioned the credibility of both the BJP-SAD combine, as well as AAP, in the eyes of the people of Punjab.
The nation and Delhi experimented with change in the last elections and elected Kejriwal for CM and Modi for PM and the result of the experiment is in front of us, said Shakeel Ahmed, adding that far from being a clean city, Delhi today has become the Garbage City. He accused Kejriwal of contesting elections only in BJP-ruled states to encash on the anti-government fact.
He pointed out that Badals’ close associates had been named in the drug trade in Punjab, while AAP’s lack of credibility could be gauged from the fact that the party had lost eight out of 11 Delhi municipal corporation seats. The Badals, he added, had pushed the state of Punjab 10 years back, with the people suffering from lack of everything, include jobs, power etc. Agriculture and industry had collapsed completely, with demonetisation further breaking the back of the people, he said.
Punjab today has become a synonym of drug menace, farmers’ pathetic conditions, unemployment and terror and the SAD manifesto is another step to throw dust in the eyes of electorate. "What have they accomplished out of the promises made in last manifestoes and the accountability for their misdeeds, this should have been listed out in their manifesto rather than more promises. People of Punjab cannot trust the SAD-BJP combine and will not vote them to power again,” he added.
Under the BJP-SAD rule, Punjab had been completely sidelined in the past two and a half years of Modi rule even though the BJP was ruling at the centre, while under the Dr. Manmohan Singh-led UPA government the state had received ample funds for development, said Shakeel.
In response to a question, Shakeel said both Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will participate in the Punjab Congress campaign. To another question, he expressed opposition to RSS statement against caste-based reservation.