Continuing his tirade against the Punjab government in general and the Badals in particular, Amritsar MP and Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday advised chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to come out of his "medieval mindset" as the world had moved past his "two-century-old" sangat darshan idea.
"Punjab today does not need your medieval practice of distributing grants at your whims and fancies; it needs proper and long-term planning," he told Badal while addressing an impressive public meeting organised by local MLA Hardyal Kamboj.
Reacting to Badal's recent criticism of his public meetings and mass contact programme, Amarinder said, "We organise mass contact programmes like these, where people are not forced and lured with bogus cheques, but come of their own will."
He claimed that Badal could not think beyond his sangat darshan that eventually led to eroding of economy with Rs 130 lakh crore debt, unemployment and the closure of industry.
Amarinder also lambasted Union minister Harsimart Kaur Badal, saying, "No one listens to her in the NDA government and she is making big political statements here. She is a political novice."
Reiterating that the drug scourge was eating into the vitals of society, Amarinder held Akalis responsible for it saying the Akalis patronised drug smugglers. He claimed that while small-time drug addicts were being jailed, the big fish were roaming free with the Badals' help.
He advised Badal to look beyond his personal and family interests and think about Punjab. He claimed that Badal had inherited just 80 acres of land from his father and now his assets were worth billions. He alleged that while the roads in Punjab were crying for attention as the government had no money, Badal had built a special road in Mullanpur that led to his under-construction five-star hotel. "Why should the people of Punjab bear the expenses of the road which is meant only for your hotel," he asked Badal.
Amarinder said the large gatherings at his rallies reflected the widespread anger and resentment against the government. He said wherever he went, people came in large numbers to express support and solidarity with them as they wanted to get rid of the Akalis at the earliest.
The senior Congress leader promised that once the Congress formed the government, it would focus on developing industry and infrastructure which would help create jobs.
Speaking on the occasion, Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Jakhar said Amarinder's rallies had created a storm across Punjab and shaken the Akali-BJP regime. He said the Akalis were regularly getting humiliated by the BJP leaders and they were not even in a position to protest.
Patiala MLA Preneet Kaur and Congress leader Lal Singh also addressed the meeting. Among others present on the occasion were Rana Gurjit Singh, Kewal Dhillon, Sukh Sarkaria, Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhjinder Randhawa, Balbir Sidhu and Gur Iqbal Kaur.
Looking for new name for Sukhbir
After taking several digs at Sukhbir, former chief minister Amarinder Singh said he was looking for a new name for Sukhbir. "Earlier I used to call him balungra (kitten). However, he is now grown up and has a grey beard, so I can't call him a balungra. I am in a dilemma what to call him," he said, leaving the audience in splits.
No need to announce CM candidate for 2017 elections, says Capt
Patiala: Former CM Capt Amarinder Singh said there was no need to announce the CM candidate for the Congress for the 2017 Assembly elections.
With everyone accusing him and Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa for fighting for being the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress, destabilising the party in the state, Amarinder said there was no need to announce the candidate.
He said this when reminded that AICC general secretary Shakeel Ahmad had said that the Congress would not announce its CM candidate.
He was speaking to the media here after the Rajpura rally.
"The Congress always contests election without naming the CM candidate. After the elections, the legislators under the supervision of the party high command, elected their leader, who would be nominated as the CLP leader. If we look at history, the Congress never announced its CM candidate," he said, adding, "Last time, Rahul Gandhi had announced my name as CM candidate a few days ahead of polling. I am grateful to him for such support," he said, adding that he was fine with the principle of not announcing any CM candidate during elections.
He said there were no differences in the party as projected by the media. "Leave apart differences, we all are working for strengthening the party," he said while referring to his programme vis-a-vis Bajwa's mass contact pogramme.
On the joint parliamentary committee recommendation for a 100% hike in the salary of parliamentarians, Amarinder said he didn't agree with the proposal. "There is no need for such a hike," he said.
Capt to release Dulat's book
Amarinder supported the revelation of former RAW chief AS Dulat saying the the NDA is in denial mode as the revelations did not suit it. He said the hijacked Air India plane should have stopped at Amritsar.
He termed the Kandahar hijack as a colossal failure of the then NDA government policymakers. He said he was fully aware of the facts of the Kandahar hijack that Dullat had presented in his book.
"Though I have not read the book, whatever I came to know from the media is true. All those, who are denying the facts, are doing this because the revelations don't suit them politically. But truth is truth," he said, blaming the then cabinet secretariat for not supporting the then Punjab DGP Sarabjit Singh, who wanted to launch a commando operation to take control of the hijacked plane.
Amarinder said DGP Sarabjit made two calls, but the cabinet secretariat never replied. Even former DGP KPS Gill had also made same suggestion, but the officials concerned didn't take his calls. "This shows it was a colossal failure of the then government and policymakers," he added.
Amarinder said he would release it in Chandigarh in the last week of July.