Adept at playing mind games with his political foes, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday claimed that "very, very important" Congress leaders would join the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) very shortly.
"The Congress camp is completely demoralised due to internal fighting, bickering, lack of leadership quality and lack of faith in the leadership, which is responsible for leaders leaving the Congress and joining the SAD," the deputy chief minister said.
He was addressing a press conference here at the party headquarters after Charan Singh Lohara, president of the Indian Motor Congress, joined the SAD. Barinder Singh Mann and Jangir Singh Wadala were among the others who joined the SAD on the occasion.
Stating that the Congressmen's decision to join the SAD was testimony to the "high level of confidence people have in the SAD", he said the SAD-BJP combine's political opponents had started endorsing the state government's development agenda after the people of Punjab re-elected the alliance on the development plank.
"The future of Punjab is in the hands of the right leadership. There is complete demoralisation in the Congress," he said. The Congressmen, he added, were scared of the fact that their party never came back to power in the states where it lost back-to-back assembly elections. "This is why the Congress leaders want to join the SAD…" he claimed.
Claiming that the SAD-BJP alliance was set to sweep the civic body elections slated for June 7-10 in the state, he quipped: "The Congress leaders don't have the stamina to go out either in the sweltering heat or in the biting cold."
'No NDA meet yet on prez candidate'
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal stated that no formal meeting of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had been called till date to decide on the vice-presidential and presidential candidates. He said neither the SAD had been approached to make chief minister Parkash Singh Badal a nominee for the post of Vice-President/President nor was the senior Badal interested in it. "As of now, no official meeting of the NDA has taken place on the issue," he said.
'UPA must go'
Taking a dig at the Congress-led UPA government, the deputy chief minister said the Indian rupee, the economy and the Sensex would start recovering immediately if the union government under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demitted office.
He said the union government was responsible for the slowdown of the Indian economy as investors had lost confidence in the UPA's ability to run the country.
Sukhbir said it was unfortunate that the stock market had nosedived to a record low and depreciation of the rupee had left the Indian economy tottering.