Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday accused his predecessor and Amritsar MP Captain Amarinder Singh of trying to create a rift between the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for his own vested interests.
Addressing the media at Bundala village of the Jandiala Guru assembly segment on the sidelines of the last leg of his three-day sangat darshan tour, Badal claimed that Amarinder was hell bent on destabilising the time-tested ruling alliance. “He knows that as long as the SAD and the BJP are together, he will never be able to become chief minister again. His illogical and out-of-context statements neither have any truth nor will have any impact on public,” he added.
He said Amarinder was using the “old divide-and-rule trick of the Congress” and not analysing his own standing in Punjab politics. “The Congress MP must remember that he has lost two back-to-back assembly elections,” said Badal.
Referring to Amarinder’s statement that the state was in a severe agrarian crisis, the CM said that instead of blaming the state government, the MP should first introspect what he had done to poor farmers during his tenure as chief minister. “He withdrew their free electricity, while we are still giving it to them at a huge cost of `5,500 crore, which we have reimbursed to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to make it the assistance economically viable and financially sustainable; and the supply is for eight continuous hours a day,” he said.
The CM rued that Punjab had never been a priority state for any Congress regime at the Centre. “Did Amarinder secure any special economic package from the-then Congress-led central government when he was CM? On the contrary, in just 16 months, our government has given Punjab the prestigious AIIMS, IIM, and National Horticulture Institute, besides heritage status to the holy city of Amritsar,” he stated.
He also said he’d continue his sangat darshan programmes with the same enthusiasm and dedication, “as it is not a political stunt like Amarinder’s mass-contact programme and is aimed at bringing justice to people at their doorstep and bridging the communication gap between the administration and the masses”. “It is my moral duty to serve the people, who were the real rulers, I am a humble servant of the public, while Amarinder is a king (he belongs to Patiala’s royal family) who looks down upon his hapless ‘parja’ (subjects),” the CM further said.
Special principal secretaries SK Raju and Ajoy Sharma, and Jandiala Guru legislators Baljit Singh Jalalusma accompanied Badal.