Deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal has ridiculed the charge of the Congress of "doctored" electronic voting machines (EVMs) being "responsible" for the defeat of the Congress in the Vidhan Sabha elections last year.
Terming the charge as a "sour grape story" while talking to mediapersons here on Saturday, Sukhbir said he had no objection if Congress leaders could convince the Election Commission of India (ECI) to use EVMs manufactured according to the specifications of 10 Janpath in the coming Moga byelection.
"The Congress can even go in for reintroduction of the paper ballot system, but still the result will be the same as last year. In fact, the result could be much better for the SAD-BJP alliance," he added.
He claimed that no force under the sun could save the Congress from the wrath of the masses of the country. He said that whether it was Punjab or Gujarat or the just-concluded Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) polls, the electorate had punished the Congress.
"The people have given a strong mandate to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and punished the Congress for the multi-lakh crore scams and the record price rise of all essential commodities. As the result of the Moga bypoll is a foregone conclusion, the Congress has chosen to put the blame on EVMs. It seems Congress leaders are only looking for excuses to justify their sure shot drubbing in Moga," said Sukhbir, wondering why Congress leaders were running after People's Party of Punjab (PPP) president and SAD discard Manpreet Singh Badal.
When asked about the Congress's insistence on deployment of central forces in Moga, the deputy CM said that the Congress could even seek deployment of the army or the United Nations forces, but it cannot stop the electorate from exercising their mandate in favour of SAD-BJP government.
'DSGMC president by February 25'
On a query about the likely president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), he said that there was a laid-down procedure of nominations and co-option, after which the meeting of the full House of the DSGMC would be called for electing the president and other office-bearers as well as the executive.
"It is a set procedure that has to be followed. It takes about 15 to 20 days. Let's say, by February 25 we will have the next president of the DSGMC," he added.
Asked if outgoing DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna would be charge-sheeted for alleged misappropriating gurdwara funds and selling properties belonging to the DSGMC, he said that the new Committee would take a call on this.
'Will go with BJP on PM candidate'
On Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi being projected as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate in the Lok Sabha polls slated for next year, Sukhbir said, "We will go with the BJP and the NDA. The NDA constituents will sit down and take a decision on this while framing the common minimum programme (CMP) ahead of the parliamentary elections."