Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal here on Monday claimed that his party was flooded with requests from 'ready-to-switch' Congress leaders.
"But we will pick only diamonds among the stones. My party is welcoming only those leaders who believe in the SAD vision and mission to develop the state. Such Congressmen's decision to join the SAD is testimony to the high level of confidence people have in the SAD-BJP alliance," he said, addressing a public meeting in favour of Joginder Pal Jain, party candidate for the February 23 Moga byelection.
Campaigning for Jain in the villages of Sadda Singh Wala, Kahan Singh Wala, Thamanwala and Jhandewala on Monday, the deputy chief minister said senior Congressmen were scared that their party would never regain power in the states where it had lost two consecutive assembly elections.
"The Congress species is on the verge of extinction in India. In Punjab also, there is complete demoralisation within the party," he said.
Predicting the disappearance of the Congress from India's political map after the 2014 parliamentary elections, Sukhbir said people of the country were fed up with price rise and multi-crore scams.
Accusing the Congress of negative campaigning in various elections, Sukhbir said the party leadership was targeting the Punjab government on non-issues as it was facing a paucity of real issues.
Pointing towards cabinet minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon, the deputy CM said the Akali-BJP alliance had picked the best person for the irrigation ministry as he had chalked out a comprehensive plan to develop world-class irrigation facilities in Punjab. "The government has an able team of ministers and they are leaving no stone unturned to keep the state on the path of rapid growth," said Sukhbir.
Slams proposed fertiliser subsidy cut
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday criticised the Centre for the proposed 15% cut in fertiliser subsidy from the next financial year. Describing the step as "anti-farmer", he said instead of slashing the subsidy, the Centre should link the minimum support price of crops with the price index, as had been recommended by the Dr Swaminathan Commission.
Addressing an election gathering in Jain's favour, he also criticised the Centre for decontrolling diesel prices.
"These steps will sound the death knell for the already dwindling agriculture sector," he said.
He demanded Rs 2,200 per quintal as the wheat MSP in view of the rising cost of agriculture inputs.
He claimed that the Centre was favouring multi-national companies which had been raising prices at will.
Sukhbir questioned the silence of the Punjab Congress on these issues and said such silence was indicative of the fact that the party was indifferent to sufferings of the people.
With PTI inputs