Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) chief Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday set the ball rolling for his party’s electoral debut with a call to party workers to take on the mantle to save the state’s future from nefarious interests, while accusing the Congress of fighting these Assembly elections on his government’s achievements of four-and-a-half years.
Addressing PLC workers after filing his nomination papers from Patiala Urban, the former chief minister trashed Charanjit Channi’s tall claims of delivering on the Congress promises in 111 days, pointing out that everything that he was claiming as his personal achievement “was accomplished by my government, including creation of jobs, action social welfare schemes, free bus travel for women and farmers’ debt waiver.”
Even in the sacrilege and drugs cases, in which he was accused of failing to take action as a pretext to remove him from chief ministership, it was his government that had initiated strong steps to take matters head on, pointed out Capt Amarinder. His government, he noted, had fought hard, right up to the Supreme Court, to get the sacrilege cases back from the CBI, leading to 19 officers, including ex-DGP Sumedh Saini, being booked.
As for the drugs cases, the PLC leader declared that it was his government that successfully broke the backbone of the drugs mafia, leading to the arrest of more than 40,000, including many big fish.
But it would be naive to believe that drugs can be completely wiped out anywhere in the world, and more so in a border state like Punjab where Pakistan was pushing in drugs almost every day, he added.
Pointing to the unequivocal support he had extended to the farmers during their agitation, the former chief minister said despite blockades at 137 places across the state his government had taken no action as he was cognizant of the concerns of the farmers.
Lauding the eventual revocation of the farm laws, he noted that never had it happened before that the prime minister of a country had apologised for any policy decision, as was done by Narendra Modi while withdrawing the legislation.
Promising to change the face of Punjab with the support of the government at the Centre, led by PLC ally – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the former chief minister said with the Narendra Modi government set to remain at the Centre for at least another seven years, PLC could transform the state with their support if voted to power.
“Punjab’s economy is in a bad shape, it is reeling under huge debt, and needs financial support from the Centre, he stressed, adding that the future of the state’s students, youth, farmers and others was at stake and need close Centre-State coordination to save.
His government gave 22 lakh jobs, education standards were raised, the state got Rs 1 lakh crore worth of industrial investment in four-and-a-half years, but much more was needed to be done to put Punjab back to being number one in the country, said Capt Amarinder.
Inaugurating his party office in Patiala, Capt Amarinder said, as in the past, he was leaving the fight for this seat to the workers here, while he would go into battle for PLC and its allies in other parts of the state.
Earlier, Union Minister and BJP poll in-charge for Punjab, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who accompanied Capt Amarinder at the filing of the nomination papers, asserted that the BJP-PLC alliance will make history in all 117 seats, including Patiala, since the security of the state and the country were paramount for the people of Punjab.