Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had the “potential” to become the Prime Minister of the country. Amarinder further said the time was right for a “generational change” in the Congress to cater to aspirations of the 70 percent youth population of the country.
In an interview to a news channel, the Punjab chief minister rubbished Niti Aayog’s plans to tax farmers, saying such a move will threaten the survival of the state’s farmers, who were already reeling under the burden of huge debts, forcing many to take the extreme step of committing suicide.
Reiterating his support for Rahul, Amarinder said he had always found the AICC vice-president “extremely perceptive and decisive”.
“There was a deliberate attempt to undermine his image by calling him names,” he said.
Confidence among investors
Amarinder also exuded confidence over the response by investors and industry to the change in dispensation in the state, saying his government had, in just six weeks, built investors’ confidence. Capt also endorsed his claim by adding that the Bathinda refinery was all set for a Rs 20,000-crore expansion.
Drug menace in Punjab
Captain Amarinder said while he could turn things around overnight, his government had succeeded in creating the right “enabling environment” for the elimination of drugs, which were now less available.
However, he was also quick in pointing point out that it would be difficult to wean youth completely away from drugs without giving them employment, towards which his government was committed. “Industrial revival will lead to large-scale creation of employment opportunities in the state,” the Punjab CM added.
Working for farmers
Capt also said his government was working to encourage farmers — 70% of whom were small farmers — to diversify and shift from paddy to cash crops. “Such small farmers, who have less than 5 acres of land, will not be able to survive imposition of taxes as envisaged by the Niti Aayog,” he added.
‘Will promote English’
To another question, he said while Punjabi language will be accorded due prominence, it was important to promote English to enable the youth to find jobs in the competitive global market.