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'Capt sent to rub salt in Punjab wounds'

punjab Updated: Mar 31, 2014 12:11 IST
Aseem Bassi

In the ongoing verbal war on Operation Bluestar, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal fired a fresh salvo against the Congress on Sunday by saying that it had sent Captain Amarinder Singh (as Lok Sabha candidate) to Amritsar "to rub salt into the wounds of Punjabis". The CM was addressing a campaign rally that state revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia had organised here. "Everybody knows that Indira Gandhi was prime minister during Operation Bluestar and later her party was involved in riots. The same Congress has now sent Amarinder to Amritsar to disturb peace by raking up sensitive issues," he said.

Evading a direct reply on Amarinder's accusing him of being responsible for the military operation in 1984 to flush out armed militants from the Golden Temple, the CM said: "Whatever Captain is saying is a lie. He is against me since I once denied him party ticket. Why is he raising the issue after 30 years? Why didn't he do it when he was chief minister?"

Seeking votes for Arun Jaitley, Bharatitya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in Amritsar, Badal said: "Punjab has always suffered under the Congress rule at the Centre and the past 10 years were no exception. Today, one of the most high-profile leaders (Jaitley) is contesting from Amritsar and we need to support him. He will get us important portfolios and projects."

The CM said he was ready to form the truth commission that Amarinder had sought to know who was behind Bluestar. Jaitley accused the Congress of running away from one contest after the other. "In Punjab, even their ministers have pulled out," he said.

Amarinder rejected repeatedly: Jaitley

People had rejected Amarinder in 2007 and 2012 before, said the BJP contender and accused his rival of using foul language in political debate. "I haven't heard any good thing from Captain Sahib; and in the past 10 years, his party has given the country nothing except scams," said Jaitley.

Show humility: Majithia to Capt

State cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia said people came to Amritsar with humility but the arrogant "Raja" (Amarinder, royal scion of Patiala) had arrived with swords and a khunda (stick). "Support Jaitley, who will be the next finance minister of India," he added.
"Amarinder has forgotten that he is contesting against Jaitley Saab, for even in his dreams, he talks against me," said Majithia. State BJP president Kamal Sharma and cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike also addressed the gathering.