India's progress cannot be thought of without development in Punjab, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday, urging people in the state to vote for the Congress in the assembly elections to ensure speedier growth.
Addressing rallies in Patiala and Ludhiana ahead of the Feb 13 assembly polls, the prime minister promised to make Punjab the country's "number one state" in all aspects if the Congress was voted back to power.
Addressing a rally in Patiala, the hometown and assembly constituency of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the prime minister said only the Congress could deliver development in the state and the country.
"We have our Congress-led government at the centre. If you re-elect the Congress in Punjab, I can assure you that my government (in the centre) will give full support to the state government. We will make Punjab the number one state in the country," Manmohan Singh told a public rally at the Polo Ground in Patiala.
Listing achievements of the government headed by him, he said India's relations with the US, Russia and the neighbours had improved during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime.
"The US will help India in overcoming the power crisis through atomic energy. Development in future will be a lot faster," he said, referring to the civil nuclear energy cooperation deal with Washington.
He added that improving relations with Pakistan was high on his government's agenda. "When the relations with Pakistan improve, Punjab will become the nerve centre of trade activities through the Wagah border post," he said.
Holding the Shiromani Akali Dal responsible for the dark period of Sikh terrorism in Punjab during 1982-92, Manmohan Singh urged the electorate to compare the achievements of the Congress and the Akalis.
"Please compare the Congress rule with that of Akalis. They did not allow any development to take place," he said.
The prime minister left for Delhi on Tuesday evening after his rally at Ludhiana. On the first day of his electoral campaign on Monday, Manmohan Singh addressed rallies in his hometown Amritsar and Jalandhar.