The Badals, state's ruling family, shouldn't take it for granted that it'll complete another full term of five years in power, Punjab Congress president captain Amarinder Singh has stated.
"If you don't perform and continue to resort to arm-twisting tactics, you'll be thrown out much before your time," Amarinder said on Wednesday at his big rally on the lawns of Geeta Bhawan here. Former Rampura Phul legislator Gurpreet Singh Kangar had organised the event.
Facing a challenge to his leadership within the party, the titular maharaja of Patiala proved he was still the king among masses as he arrived to a rousing reception by the local party workers, who had waited for hours in the scorching heat at the packed venue.
Education minister Sikander Singh Maluka in Rampura Phull, Virsa Singh Valtoha in Tarn Taran and Bikram Singh Majithia in Majitha were tormentors-in-chief of the Congress workers, Amarinder said. "I ask them what sadistic pleasure you get from victimising the poor and innocent?" he added. "The acts are signs of cowards."
Challenging the Akalis to sustain their government for the entire second five-year term in succession, he said the regime's popularity had declined when the parliamentary elections were closing in. "I am sure as the situation is developing, the Akalis cannot win even one Lok Sabha seat," he said. "It will be the beginning of their end."
The Akalis had failed to fulfil all their election promises, Amarinder said. "Where are 'aata-daal' for the poor, laptops for students, and unemployment allowance for 47 lakh young people of Punjab?" he added. "This government had cheated people by making false promises and delivering nothing."
Sunil Jakhar, Congress legislature party leader in the Punjab assembly, was next to address the gathering. "The state government has decided to impose taxes worth Rs 9,000 crore on the poor," he said. "Either it should withdraw the punitive taxes and declare its scams and failures on the power front or we'll expose the statistics."
Later at a press conference, Amarinder took questions on the refusal of the Sanjha Morcha to join the Congress in its upcoming protests against new taxes on September 7.
"The Sanjha Morcha alliance has not denied us support but only said it had short time to prepare for the agitation," Amarinder said. "The morcha agrees with the Congress on the need to oppose the taxes, which it will in its own protests on September 21."
Punjab Congress vice-president Kewal Dhillon; general secretaries Harminder Singh Jassi, Fateh Jang Bajwa, and Kikki Dhillon; legislators Ajaib Singh Bhatti and Joginder Singh Panjgraian; and former MLAs Ajit Singh Shant, Makhan Singh, Jagbir Brar and Chiranji Lal Garg were present.