Promising to make Punjab the "No 1" state once again, AICC President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday called for the defeat of “divisive” forces in the ensuing assembly elections in the state.
She was addressing a fairly large gathering in this predominantly rural assembly segment, which during the days of terrorism had produced dreaded terrorists like Harjinder Singh Jinda and Surjit Singh Penta.
Sonia said a secular government at the Centre was necessary for peace, prosperity and progress. Though she did not name either the Akali Dal or the BJP, the AICC President said Punjab could not afford to take chances with political parties whose agenda was to divide people and weaken the social fabric.
Sonia Gandhi began her address by paying obeisance to the 'pavitra dharti' (holy land) of the Harmandir Sahib. Complimenting the Amarinder Singh led Congress government for putting Punjab back on the fast track to progress and development, Sonia reminded her audience that five years ago when she launched her party's campaign, the state was debt-ridden. She said the government had strived hard to fulfill all her party's promises in 2002 to lay down a solid foundation in these five years. "We have to build further on this foundation", she said, adding that with Congress governments both in Delhi and Punjab will be to the state's advantage.
Taking a dig at the Akalis, Sonia Gandhi said though "they" were part of the NDA government, nothing was done for Punjab. She stressed the need for a second green revolution for economic uplift.She said Punjab needs more power sector, better health care and education.