Campaigning in the border district of Amritsar on Monday, BJP president Amit Shah sought votes for the SAD-BJP alliance “in the interest of national security and communal harmony in Punjab”.
He also declared chief minister Parkash Singh Badal “the epitome of sacrifice”: “He has dedicated his entire life for the betterment of Punjab. It hurts when people abuse him. Politics has hit a new low.”
On the lines of what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said in his Punjab election rallies, Shah, who was addressing a rally in support of BJP and SAD assembly candidates and also BJP’s Lok Sabha bypoll candidate, Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, said, “The election in Punjab is an election for the security of the nation. Punjab is the heart of India. If it is secure, the nation is secure.”
He declared that it is the SAD-BJP alliance — “a symbol of Sikh-Hindu unity” — that has ensured brotherhood and communal harmony in the state. “It is very important to carry on with that,” he told the gathering. The candidates who stood with him on stage, besides bypoll nominee Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, included BJP’s Anil Joshi, Rakesh Gill, Rajesh Honey, and Tarun Chugh, and SAD’s Gurpartap Tikka.
On the AAP and Arvind Kejriwal, the BJP supremo said, “Some people are trying to do their best to defame Punjab. They are fooling people in order to seize power in Punjab. But I must say, the people know it all. The electorate of Delhi which voted for you (AAP) is now looking for you with binoculars in their hands. Arvind Kejriwal wants to be the CM of Gujarat, Punjab, Goa, of every state he visits.”
He termed state Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh as an “absent MP” from Amritsar, “Even if he manages to become the CM, where will people go to find him? He prefixes ‘Captain’ to his name but takes orders from Rahul baba (Rahul Gandhi, Congress vice-president) .”
He credited the Modi-led central government with development in the state, and also mentioned that Modi and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley (who lost here against Amarinder in the 2014 LS polls) have a “deep connection” with Amritsar.
In Ludhiana, Shah said Punjab will benefit with the BJP in power at the Centre and the Akalis being an important ally in the state. “Akalis are not alone as the government at the Centre belongs to Narendra Modi. If you want peace in the state, then neither the Congress nor the AAP can bring peace in the state; only the SAD-BJP alliance can,” he said.