Newly appointed state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Vijay Sampla said winning the assembly elections was his top priority and claimed that the Akali-BJP combine would make a hat-trick in the 2017 polls.
Sampla, also the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment who took over the party’s state unit reins on Wednesday, paid obeisance at the Golden Temple on the occasion of Baisakhi on Wednesday. He was later presented with a “siropa” by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) at the information office of the shrine.
Talking to the media, Sampla he said he was here to seek the blessings of the “waheguru” so he could carry forward the policies of the party. He said the party workers would be involved in the policy making process ahead of the assembly polls and their grievances, if any, would be taken care of.
No differences with Akalis
When his attention was drawn towards the “bullying tactics” of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the manner in which some senior leaders of the BJP had openly voiced their resentment against the functioning of Akali ministers, Sampla said: “Such differences are common between two brothers in a family. We may have differences with the Akalis on some issues, but we have one heart and one mind.”
On chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Navjot Kaur Sidhu’s assertion that she will not contest the coming assembly polls if the BJP doesn’t snap ties with the SAD, Sampla said it was too early to comment. “Who will fight elections and who will not is for the party high command to decide,” he added.
Complimenting the Parkash Singh Badal government for development in Punjab in the past nine years, Sampla said: “The state now has surplus power and road network has grown by leaps and bounds under the SAD-BJP regime.”
Lambasting the Congress, he said that not a single unit of power was added during Captain Amarinder Singh’s term. “The Congress cannot take the credit for even a single bridge, road or highway in the state,” he claimed.
Given rousing welcome
On his arrival to the holy city, Sampla was given a rousing welcome by BJP workers led by municipal corporation member Rajesh Honey at New Amritsar. CPS Sidhu had been assigned the task, but she had to leave for Delhi.
Standing atop an open jeep, Sampla rode into the city as BJP workers lined both sides of the road shouting slogans in favour of their new president. Local bodies minister Anil Joshi, Rajya Sabha member Shwait Malik, national BJP secretary Tarun Chugh, state vice-president Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina and a number of other leaders accompanied Sampla to the Golden Temple.
Sampla also paid homage to the martyrs at the historic Jallianwala Bagh. He later visited the Durgiana Temple and the shrine at Ram Tirath.