Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Capt Amarinder Singh has claimed that the morale of his party is high and the leadership is taking the elections to the four municipal corporations seriously.
Addressing the media after meeting a number of party candidates contesting the Amritsar MC polls here on Tuesday, he did not agree with reporters that his party's senior leaders were not 'visible' in Amritsar, while the ministers, MLAs and other senior leaders of the SAD and BJP were actively taking part in the campaign and planning poll strategies for their respective candidates. He claimed that every senior leader of the party, including the MLAs, had been assigned roles for the polls.
"The MLAs and former MLAs from Majha will campaign in Amritsar while those of Doaba will do so in Jalandhar. The MLAs from Malwa will campaign in Patiala and Ludhiana," he added.
When asked whether the withdrawal of nomination papers by party candidates in two wards of the AMC showed the lack of interest on part of the Congress in the MC elections, Amarinder felt they were probably made to withdraw under pressure from the ruling alliance. Over 1,300 applications for 250 seats were received by the party for the MC polls from the four cities pointed to the fact that the Congress workers were ready to take on the SAD-BJP alliance, he added.
"We will not allow any form of intimidation of our candidates or workers and even voters, and would retaliate if the need arises," he added.
When asked about the rebel factor, Amarinder made it clear that rebels had been put on notice, and if they did not fall in line, then they would be expelled from the party. The rebel factor harmed the party in the assembly polls, he added.
"At the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday, I had suggested that six years' expulsion from the party should mean six years, and nothing less. Only then can this menace be curtailed," he added.
Amarinder scoffed at deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal's claims that a number of senior Congress leaders were waiting to join SAD. The joining of one or two leaders does not mean all Congress leaders were going to join SAD, he added.
"Sukhbir is used to making such hollow claims," he added.
The PPCC chief maintained that he would continue to fight the repression by the SAD-BJP government, which was still continuing against his party leaders and workers.
"Instead of just giving assurances, the chief minister and his son should take concrete steps to check vendetta," he said.
Amarinder voiced his criticism on the memorial to be constructed in the Golden Temple complex in 'memory' of those who were killed while fighting the security forces during Operation Bluestar.
"The impact of the 'Operation' has not left Punjab even now as the economy of the state has not recovered to this day. Such moves will discourage investors from investing in Punjab," he added.