Officially announcing Punjab Congress President Captain Amarinder Singh as the party’s chief ministerial candidate, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Friday took the Congress battle against the corrupt and criminal Akali leadership into their bastion of Majitha with the promise of waiver of farm loans, and a tough law to wipe out chitta along with jail for those responsible for playing with the lives of youth.
Rahul Gandhi made it clear at his first public rally in Punjab in Majitha, that Captain Amarinder would head the Congress government after the polls. Lauding Amarinder as an experienced leader who had given his sweat to Punjab, Rahul said the PPCC president would once again fulfill every promise made to the people of Punjab.
Pointing at Capt Amarinder Singh, who was seated on the dais, the Congress leader said, "The chief minister of Punjab will be from the state itself. And he is sitting right here."
Flanked by Captain Amarinder and party’s star campaigner and Amritsar East candidate Navjot Singh, Rahul Gandhi appealed to the people of Punjab to join hands with the Congress to revive the fortunes of the state and to collectively work towards the establishment of Punjabiyat.
Rahul and Captain , in their respective address, promised cancellation of all the fake cases filed against innocent people by the Akali leaders in the past 10 years and asserted that those guilty of victimizing and terrorizing the people will be thrown into jail once the Congress comes to power.
The state, said Rahul, had been plunged into total destruction and devastation by the Badals and cannot be restored to its old glory in two days but will be done with the blood and sweat of Amarinder, Sidhu and the people of Punjab, backed by the rest of the party leadership. Rahul appealed to the people to strengthen the hands of the Congress to bring growth back on the rails in Punjab.
Rahul promised cancellation of all the fake cases against innocent people under the Badal rule, urging one and all to stand with the Congress in fighting `these corrupt people.’ Pledging the establishment of a `people’s government’ in Punjab, Rahul promised his personal support, and that of the party high command, to revive Punjab’s growth and its spirit of Punjabiyat, while wiping out the drugs menace that had ruined the youth.
With all businesses in the hands of the Badal family, the state is in the grip of de-growth and a host of serious problems including drugs, to which 70% youth in the state are either addicted or have tried, said Rahul, pointing out that the Akalis had made fun of him when he had first mentioned this two years ago. Now everyone was saying the same thing, and there was enough evidence to show that Punjab’s youth were being destroyed by drugs, he said, adding that the Badals were squarely responsible for all the mess in the state, including industrial and agricultural ruin.
The Congress would ensure laws against Chitta, said Rahul, warning drug dealers and mafia that "we will make such a law that they would shudder to think or talk about drugs.” Asserting that the Congress would fight and win the war against drugs, Rahul declared that the party always does what it promises.
Capt. Amarinder, in his address, promised to bring to book every single person, including Akali leaders and policemen, guilty of framing innocent people in false cases. He pointed out that Majitha, the constituency of Bikram Majithia, had the largest number of fake cases, which he promised would be withdrawn once the Congress comes to power.
Accusing the Badals of bypassing all democratic norms to establish their family fiefdom in the state, Amarinder lambasted the Akali leaders for running mafias and vowed to throw every one of them into jail. Neither of the Badal son-duo, nor the `Lambu’ (reference to Bikram Majithia) would win in these elections, said Captain, adding the end had begun for all of them, including the one selling chiita and ruining the youth of Punjab.
Captain Amarinder said the Congress candidate from Majitha, Sukhjinder Singh Lali Majithia had been fighting the tyranny of Bikram for the past one decade and was committed to saving the people of Majitha from the Akali shackles.
Lashing out at the Badals for selling off and mortgaging the state’s assets and vital properties in order to pay staff salaries, Captain Amarinder urged the people to vote for the progress of the state. "These are your elections, remember you would be voting for Punjab and for your future, as well as the future of your children,” he exhorted the people.
Navjot Singh, the party’s star campaigner and candidate from Amrtisar East assembly segment, in his inimitable style, urged the voters to help the Congress win by a clear majority, saying every single vote for his party would amount to a show thrown in the face of the Badals. Terming the elections as a battle against the `zulmaan’ of Badal, Najot said the time for change had come and every penny looted by the Badals and Bikram from the people of Punjab would be taken back by the Congress government after the polls. `Sada haq ithey rakh,’ he demanded of the Akalis, amid thunderous applause from the crowd.
Bikram had made money to the tune of Rs. 30000 crore from liquor trading while the Badals had earned crores from their growing businesses, said Sidhu, promising recovery of the entire looted money once the Congress forms the government. He also promised withdrawal of all fake cases in which innocent people had been frame by the Badals and Bikram. Badal’s policy has been 10% sewa and 90% mewa, said Sidhu, adding that the Akali leaders would have to pay for their sins against the people of Punjab.
Pointing out that the issue of drugs had been first raised by Rahul, Sidhu appealed to the AICC vice president and Captain Amarinder to ensure elimination of drugs from Punjab and exemplary punishment for those involved in drug mafia and drug trading. He also urged the party leadership to take immediate steps after government formation to ensure employment for the youth.