Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday said the formation of Congress government in his state was beginning of the party’s journey towards victory.
He said he was confident that the people in Delhi will complete the remaining work by defeating the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the municipal elections on April 23.
“With little bit of courage, you can win this battle. When we all come together, we can win. You have tried this person (Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal). He was supposed to perform, but failed to do so. He didn’t pay salaries to sanitation workers,” Singh said on Thursday at an event organised by the local Congress to felicitate him.
The felicitation was organised in Subhash Nagar, which is part of Rajouri Garden assembly segment that will also see a bypoll on April 9. The venue for Singh’s felicitation was chosen strategically to be an area dominated by Punjabi and Sikh voters.
In a short speech, Singh was stinging in his criticism of the AAP and said that a report by the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) had proven that he spent taxpayer’s money on elections in Punjab and other states. “The people of Punjab have decimated the AAP. The remaining work, you can do during the municipal elections,” Singh said.
The Rajouri Garden seat fell vacant after AAP legislator Jarnail Singh quit to contest from Punjab’s Lambi against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patron Parkash Singh Badal in the assembly elections.
The Congress has nominated Meenakshi Chandela, a sitting councillor from Khayala ward, for the April 9 bypoll. SAD’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa will be the joint candidate of BJP-SAD and contest on BJP’s symbol. AAP has named Harjeet Singh as its nominee for the bypoll.
Thursday’s felicitation also saw the presence of Congress chief Ajay Maken, All India Congress Committee general secretary and state affairs in-charge PC Chacko with several former MLAs of Delhi.
Punjab CM Singh also criticised the BJP-SAD alliance and said that the same combine had emptied the state’s coffers in Punjab and the state was under the debt of Rs 1.80 lakh crore.
“We don’t have funds to pay salary to our government employees. The previous government looted the state’s wealth. The SAD candidate Sirsa (Manjinder Singh) would manage their account,” he alleged.
Expressing his gratitude towards Maken, Singh said the Delhi Congress chief had come to Punjab without any invitation during elections and hence it was only natural for him to come to Delhi for him.
“I will never forget the way you have treated me with much affection and respect. I will come again to fight with you. I appeal to the people of Delhi to vote for Congress”, he said.
Earlier, Maken described Singh as the hero of Punjab and Congress party. He said citizens of the city, who had experienced AAP’s misgovernance, were overjoyed by the Punjab poll results.
“The development of the city has come to a standstill. Sanitation workers are not getting salary. Number of DTC buses has gone down. Around 97, 000 students of government schools have left to get admission in private schools,” he said.
He also charged BJP of corruption in the three municipal corporations. “ The BJP president has admitted that their councillors are corrupt, hence the party had denied tickets to them. Corruption was rampant in corporations but Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not act. ‘Swachch Bharat Abhiyan’ was launched but sanitation workers were not paid their salaries. They had to go on strike thrice,” he said.