Reiterating the decision that party leaders would not turn “rebels” if denied the chance to contest the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday warned that those who turn rebellious would be expelled for the next five years.
Captain said that he was in tune with the Congress High Command’s decision to ask all the leaders to sign “loyalty affidavits” .
“If anybody tries to revolt then we will initiate strong action. The ticket will be provided to one person while the others will have to wait for their turn. We have around 150 memberships in Punjab and those who assist our candidates will be given the opportunity to become a member,” Captain told the media here.
“There were around 20 independent candidates last time and we don’t want any independent (candidate) this time. I was in Balachaur yesterday. There are nine candidates for that particular seat and if we give ticket to one then eight others might revolt. If such a situation arises then we will expel from the party for the next five years,” he added.
As per reports, the Congress this time wants its winning MLAs to abide by its whips in the assembly as in the 2012 polls many hopefuls had contested against its official candidates after being denied tickets.
The “loyalty affidavits” is said to be an application devised with help from poll strategist Prashant Kishor.
Meanwhile, the former Punjab chief minister also used the occasion to target the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is gradually expanding its base in the state.
Responding to a poser about Kejriwal’s upcoming visit to Amritsar’s Golden Temple, Captain said that it was just an attempt on part of the Delhi Chief Minister to show his face to the people prior to the polls.
“Neither Kejriwal nor Phoolka, but some other person who committed this blunder needs to apologise. Journalist and the in-charge of AAP’s manifesto committee Kanwar Sandhu is responsible for the poster that had the party’s symbol broom superimposed on the photograph of Golden Temple. They are trying to play with religious sentiments and this is wrong,” he added.
The Punjab Police had last week registered an FIR in Amritsar into a complaint against AAP’s senior member Ashish Khetan on alleged comparison of his party’s newly-released youth manifesto with the Guru Granth Sahib.
The FIR was registered on a complaint by a Ferozepur-based man Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad, 24 hours after Khetan along with AAP MP Bhagwant Mann and party leader Kanwar Sandhu had publically apologised and admitted the mistake.
The former Punjab chief minister also expressed his disappointment over reports that around two lakh students have passed their board examinations this year courtesy grace marks.
Lashing out at the SAD-BJP alliance government, Captain said the incumbent Punjab Government has brought down the standard of education.
“They might pass here, but how will they enter into higher educational institutions? The Badal Government is trying to make their own scores with assertions that Punjab has risen to the fourth place in education while the truth is that even Himachal Pradesh is ahead of us. The future of education in Punjab is dark in the hands of this government,” he added.
Advocating the schemes implemented in the past, the Congress leader said that they waived off all cooperative loans during their tenure in power in the state, adding that they would take this initiative further if the people vote them to power in 2017.
“The heavy interests levied by lending institutions must be cancelled as this is unfair... We will also implement additional schemes as inflation is high and the income of the poor section is decreasing day by day,” said Capitan, adding .it’s the government’s responsibility to help the poor.
Eyeing upon victory in the 2017 polls, Captain has been campaigning aggressively to reach out to the people of Punjab.
He has also come up with several new initiatives, including Punjab Da Captain, Coffee with Captain, Halke Vich Captain, so that he can address the grievances of the people at the grassroots level.
The former Punjab chief minister is also active on the social media where he leaves no stone unturned in targetting his opponents SAD and AAP.