While rubbishing any threat from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the upcoming assembly elections, the Congress is preparing to woo non-resident Indians (NRIs), taking a leaf out of the AAP’s book.
“AAP is not a threat to us, as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) remains our nearest rival. But at the same time, it is necessary to check AAP, as there is no time for experimentation at a time when Punjab is in the doldrums,” said Congress state president Captain Amarinder Singh, who is planning a month-long foreign trip to “expose AAP”.
Captain was in SAS Nagar on Tuesday to furnish bail bonds of `5 lakh and a surety at the district courts for visiting Canada and the US from April 15 to May 15.
“In the upcoming elections in Punjab, NRIs will play an important role,” said Captain, adding that his trip would focus on “garnering support for the Congress among NRIs and show the real face of AAP to them”.
AAP has already emerged as a popular party among NRIs and has been receiving funds from them by promising to be an alternative to the SAD-BJP and Congress.
Pointing towards AAP’s lack of experience and need for stability in state, Captain said: “Their (AAP’s) state convener, Sucha Singh Chhotepur, was a minister of state for just three months back in 1985-86. In the past 10 years of SAD-BJP misrule, people of Punjab have had enough. This is the last chance to save Punjab, and the Congress is the only party that can provide it stability and growth while checking the depleting state finances.”
‘Preference to youngsters in party tickets’
Amarinder Singh said the first list of candidates for the assembly elections would be out by June. “Youngsters will be given preference while allotting the tickets, as majority of population in Punjab is below 40,” he said.
Calling the youth’s preference for AAP a “myth”, Captain said: “We are getting a lot of support from youngsters, who are turning in huge numbers at our rallies.”
‘SYL issue a pre-election ploy’
Accusing chief minister Parkash Singh Badal of raking up controversies to gain support before elections, Captain said this time it was the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal link issue. The Congress chief said the Badal government had complicated the matter by delay of four days in sending the bill for the governor’s approval, giving time to the apex court to take cognisance of the legislation.