Punjab election: Rahul Gandhi says Arvind Kejriwal helping forces who want to disturb peace | assembly-elections$punjab-2017 | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Aug 18, 2017-Friday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Punjab election: Rahul Gandhi says Arvind Kejriwal helping forces who want to disturb peace

Citing the IED blast killing six in Maur Mandi—a town in poll bound Punjab, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused the Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal for providing platform to Sikh extremists. He, vowed voters to protect the hard earned peace of Punjab.

assembly elections Updated: Feb 02, 2017 20:31 IST
Vishal Rambani
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi eats lunch with villagers at Ballian village in Punjab on Thursday.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi eats lunch with villagers at Ballian village in Punjab on Thursday. (Bharat Bhushan /HT Photo)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi accused AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of helping forces who want to disturb Punjab’s peace on Thursday, just two days before the state goes to election that is expected to see a three-way contest.

Gandhi made the comments during a rally in Ballian village in Sangrur district, where he is trying to woo voters in the Malwa region that has 69 seats out of total 117 seats in the assembly.

On the last day of the poll campaign, the Congress leader said Kejriwal was promoting elements that were against Punjab and voters should keep in mind who they vote for, as the Aam Aadmi Party leader and Sikh radicals will hijack the progressive agenda of Punjab.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi addressing a gathering at Ballian village, Sangrur on Thursday. (Bharat Bhushan/HT Photo)

He also said the twin blasts that killed at least six people at Maur Mandi in Bathinda on Tuesday nigh, was a chilling reminder of the “black days” in the northern state.

“The most important thing is the atmosphere you live in. If that atmosphere gets spoiled, violence starts or anger prevails, then the work of farmers, labourers, weaker sections suffers, entire state suffers,” Gandhi said.

“And Arvind Kejriwal is backing the perpetrators of the blast. He is allowing them to contest elections. This is very dangerous for Punjab. If these elements gain strength in Punjab, then it will hijack all the development issues,” he said at the rally.

The explosions just ahead of February 4 polls sparked a no-holds-barred blame game, with the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress accusing the AAP of involvement in the incident.

The AAP, however, demanded “interrogation” of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal for the blasts.

Linking the forces behind the blasts with the AAP, the ruling Badals alleged that the “Khalistani separatist groups” were supporting the AAP to form the next government and disturb peace in the state.

Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s rival candidate from Lambi, AAP’s Jarnail Singh, had addressed “a public meeting of the Khalistani groups” in London a year back.

Gandhi’s comments came days after Captain Amarinder Singh blamed Kejriwal for promoting extremist forces such as the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF). Even if AAP is not directly involved in the bomb explosion, Amarinder said, it was clearly promoting extremist ideology and forces.

“Kejriwal does not care who lives or dies,” Amarinder said.

Rahul breaks bread

Rahul Gandhi interacted with the residents of Ballian village, Sangrur on Thursday. (Bharat Bhushan/HT Photo)

During his visit to Punjab, the Congress vice-president along with party candidate Vijay Inder Singla ate with villagers at Ballian’s community kitchen. Gandhi also tried to strike a chord with villagers and Dalits as atrocities on them is one of the major issues in Sangrur and central Malwa.

Dressed in blue denims, white kurta and a half jacket, Gandhi sat on a wooden cot, flanked by the village headman and council members, and interacted with the residents of Ballian village.

He later shared a traditional meal with commoners and party leaders at the Sanjha Chulha (common kitchen) put up by the villagers.

Read | Maur blasts: Survivors, witnesses recall moment of horror

Dressed in blue denims, white kurta and a half jacket, Gandhi sat on a wooden cot, flanked by the village headman and council members, and interacted with the residents of Ballian village.

He later shared a traditional meal with commoners and party leaders at the Sanjha Chulha (common kitchen) put up by the villagers.

(With agency inputs)