Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa on Sunday started his statewide tour by holding the first meeting of party workers in the headquarters of this border district. He gave a call to partymen to rejuvenate themselves for a convincing victory in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
Bajwa got an overwhelming response from party workers on his maiden visit to his home district after becoming PPCC chief. Addressing the party workers, Bajwa equated Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and Libiya's former leader Col Muammar Gadaffi for allegedly letting loose a reign of terror on the Congress leaders and workers in the state. He reminded Badal of the fate the two met in the end.
Bajwa asserted that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had crossed all limits in implicating the Congress leaders and workers in false cases. He accused the police of playing into the hands of Akalis and perpetrating atrocities on the Congressmen at the behest of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance.
The PPCC chief, while maintaining that Punjab Police were known for their good work, said they should not play into the hands of the ruling Akali party.
Bajwa maintained that before the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the panchayat and municipal elections were expected in next couple of months. He exhorted party workers to ensure victory of the Congress in local bodies' elections and use the opportunity to rehearse for the major electoral battle in 2014. He said in the last Lok Sabha polls, the Congress had won eight out of 13 seats of Punjab and he is confident to win all the seats this time.
"The success of Akali Dal in assembly polls was not an achievement but a major tragedy happened with people of Punjab. The SAD-BJP alliance had manoeuvred victory through unfair means despite having lost the confidence of voters."
He remarked that the heavy property tax was imposed on the urban population and due to pressure built by the Congress, the state government decided to reconsider it. "We will not allow the SAD-BJP alliance government to impose heavy taxes," Bajwa added.
The PPCC president said Badal government had discriminated with border areas. Bajwa said he had proposed to set up the central university at Pathankot where already 300 acres of land procured several years back was lying unused. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also wanted the university to come up in border area but due to political reasons it was shifted near Badal village, Bajwa said, adding that he had proposed to set up Rail Coach Factory in Kalanaur where 1,600 acres of land was available with the village gram panchayat. He claimed that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal didn't take the initiative and Haryana bagged the project for Sonepat.
Bajwa said the he had got sanctioned the Qadian-Beas railway project to link two historical places -- the headquarters of Jammat-e-Ahmadiya and Radha Soami sect -- but the project couldn't be completed due to lack of administrative support by state government and a portion of land was not acquired so far. Similarly, a proposal for an IIIT for the border area failed to materialise due to non-cooperative attitude of the Badal government, he added.
OP Soni, vice-president in-charge of Majha area, said the appointment of Bajwa had brought about a major change in the mood of party workers who were upbeat to take the new challenges. He said the border area people were waiting for the right opportunity to teach a lesson to the Akali Dal.
Others who spoke on the occasion included Fatehjung Singh Bajwa, DCC president Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, former minister Ashwani Sekhri, MLA Charanjit Kaur Bajwa, former MP Bhupinder Singh Mann and MLA Aruna Chaudhary.