Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday refuted the claim of Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal that the party was planning to align with radicals in the 2017 assembly elections.
“Don’t worry, we are strong enough on our own to make you march out of Punjab and we really don’t need anybody’s help, much less that of the radicals,” he told Sukhbir in a statement here, adding that the Congress was open to an alliance only with like-minded parties, not radicals.
“Do you really think that the Congress and parties such as the Akali Dal (Amritsar) are like-minded?” he asked Sukhbir.
The former chief minister also ridiculed the state government’s decision to double the old-age and widow pension from Rs 250 to Rs 500 per month, saying that the Congress had already announced that the same would be enhanced to Rs 2,000 per month if it came to power.
Amarinder wondered from where the government would generate extra money when it was not in a position to pay pension and salaries at the current rates.
“This move is clearly aimed at bluffing the people ahead of the elections,” he said, adding that when the payment of pension and salaries was pending for about six to eight months, announcing to enhance these sounded ridiculous.
Amarinder reiterated that the Congress was a secular and nationalist party which had laid down so many sacrifices to save the secular fabric of the state and the country, while the Akalis, particularly the Badals, had been outright opportunists, changing their stand and commitment every now and then for their convenience.
He further said that radicals such as Simranjit Singh Mann were a spent force and nobody took them seriously anymore.