Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday warned people to be wary of the "nefarious designs" and "false propaganda" unleashed by the state Congress leadership out of "sheer frustration", and asked them to do "soul searching" before exercising their franchise in favor of a particular candidate during the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating a 30-bed community health centre (CHC) built at a cost of Rs. 4.33 crore here, the CM said, "People should take the decision very carefully, because it is directly related to their destiny, linked with the overall development of the area and the prosperity of its people."
"The SAD-BJP government has been saying from day one that Centre-state relations should be recast, with the thrust on the true federal structure. The UPA government has gradually diluted the nation's federal character to unitary one, thereby encroaching upon the jurisdiction and powers of the states," he added.
He alleged that the states had been relegated to the "dignified municipalities", who have to "look upon the Centre for their petty demands", because "enormous" economic and financial powers were vested in the union government.
Appealing for a change of guard at Centre, the CM asked people to oust the Congress and pave the way for the installation of the BJP-led NDA government, so that Punjab could seek more funds and get big projects sanctioned, which, he alleged, was not feasible in the present scenario due to the Centre's
"indifference" towards the state.
Training guns at the state Congress leadership, Badal said, "I know that criticism has become a fashion nowadays, and the Congress is indulging in it just to gain cheap popularity."
"The Congress does not have any agenda, so it is resorting to mudslinging to air out its negativity," he added.
On exit polls
Talking to mediapersons on the issue of exit polls, the CM said any constituent, ally or a party could have its own opinion, which does not amount to having difference of opinion within a particular group or a party.
"Even the members of a family have difference of opinion over an issue, but it does not mean that there is no harmony. We should not jump to conclusions on such issues. Exit polls are just imaginary, illusive and unrealistic," he said, adding that while exit polls during the state assembly elections in 2012 had predicted that the SAD-BJP alliance would lose to the Congress, the alliance was in fact voted to power consecutively for the second term.
'Party cannot be blamed for individual's crimes'
Replying to a query regarding the involvement of Youth Akali workers in narcotics-related activities, Badal claimed that the party could not be blamed for the unscrupulous activities and misdeeds of any individual or person associated with the party, adding that anyone involved in such anti-social and unlawful activities, no matter his position, would not be spared at any cost.
Later, accompanied by former Cabinet minister and senior Akali leader Upinderjit Kaur, the CM paid obeisance at Gurdwara Ber Sahib, associated with the first Sikh guru Nanak Dev, on the occasion of his Parkash Purb.
The CM also inaugurated a Rs. 2.5 crore bridge on the Kapurthala-Fattudhingra road at Nanakpur village.