Buoyed over the high turnout in their recent rallies across the state, including one at Maur Mandi near Bathinda on Sunday, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders took potshots at the "poor attendance" of people at the rally addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chandigarh on Friday.
In a jam-packed show, AAP leaders on Sunday targeted the Punjab government on drug menace, corruption and alleged misuse of police machinery, while addressing the gathering.
The tone was set by the AAP's Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur. "I congratulate you for putting up this grand show here in the Badal bastion. Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had to mention in his address during the inauguration of the Chandigarh international airport by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he regretted the low presence of people and would be organising another grand show for him (Modi). The participation in this rally is even bigger than the Chandigarh rally. In that event, people from two states (Punjab and Haryana) and a union territory were mobilised but people of Maur have put up a much bigger show," he said.
At his satirical best, Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann said, "It is not like a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) rally where people are lured saying 'aao tan bhukki, jao tan sharab, aao sirjiye navan Punjab. (At SAD rallies they say 'we will welcome you with poppy husk and entertain with liquor while leaving. This way, we'll s create a new Punjab'."
Chhoterpur said if the AAP forms government in Punjab in the 2017 assembly elections, they would make sure that all the leaders of SAD-BJP as well as Congress involved in drugs trafficking will be put behind the bars.
Mann also took potshot on the claim by Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha and Amritsar MP Captain Amarinder Singh that the AAP has no experience of governance, saying, "Captain Amarinder Singh is true while he says that AAP has no experience of governance. Actually it is better that we don't have the experience of managing the government by indulging in corrupt practices."
Interacting with mediapersons after the rally, Mann said the SAD-BJP alliance is not limited to the government but has extended to drug trafficking as BJP leaders' involvement has also come to light recently. He termed the talk of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal being AAP's chief ministerial candidate in Punjab as mere rumours.
On the loss of AAP's student wing, Chhatra Yuva Sangharash Samiti (CYSS), in the Delhi University Students' Union polls, Mann said it was not a serious thing as student body was formed recently and DUSU results are no indicator that youth are getting away from the party.
He reiterated his allegation that the Punjab government is not cooperating in development of the village adopted by him under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna, adding that he would ensure maximum development in the village from Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds.
Chhoterpur in his address also referred to the chit-fund companies fleecing the people, claiming that innocent villagers are falling a prey to these companies. Mann said a proper inquiry should be conducted as people are being fleeced by these firms.