Launching a scathing attack on Congress, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday said leaders of the party are "opportunists" who "contest the elections for enjoying fruits of power and forget the people once they come to power".
Addressing a Sangat Darshan programme in Dhuri assembly constituency here, Badal said his Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has a glorious history of serving the people with full zeal and commitment whereas the Congress leaders "flee" after enjoying the fruits of power.
He was referring to the recent resignation of Dhuri MLA Arvind Khanna, necessitating a by-election within six months.
Congress leader Khanna, a close aide of former chief minister Amarinder Singh, resigned from the Assembly and party earlier this week "to devote my time to my family and business".
Cautioning the people not to get swayed away by the "malicious propaganda unleashed by the Congress party", Badal said Congress has always adopted an anti-Punjab stance due to which the development of the state has suffered a lot.
Training his guns on the state Congress leadership for opposing his Sangat Darshan programme in Dhuri in view of the upcoming bypoll, the Chief Minister dared the Congress leader to stop him from pursuing this pro-people move for the well being of the masses.
Congress had a few days ago lodged a protest with chief election commission H S Brahma urging him to restrain Badal from "influencing" voters in Dhuri Assembly seat, where bypoll is likely to be held soon.
Badal said Punjab's economy has been affected due to the partition of the country and prolonged militancy but it got the fatal blow when the Congress granted incentives to the neighbouring states, which led to mass exodus of industry.
Terming the formation of the Modi government at the Centre as a "silver lining" for the state, Badal said that it would give further impetus to the overall development of the state and prosperity of its people.
Later at Sherpur Sodhian village, Badal took a jibe at the proposed 'Lalkaar Rally' of former chief minister Amarinder Singh in Amritsar tomorrow and said the motive of the rally to "belittle his party colleagues".
Badal said before resorting to such political tantrums aimed at defaming Punjabis as "drug addicts", both Singh and state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa should set their house in order. "Wise people of Punjab are well aware of dubious moves of Congress leaders aimed at tarnishing the image of Punjabis as drug addicts," he said.
He also took a dig at former Congress MLA Khanna saying that he has deserted the electorate by shirking away from the responsibility of serving them.
During the present SAD-BJP regime, at least three Congress MLAs -- Arvind Khanna, Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu and Joginderpal Jain -- had deserted the party. Sidhu and Jain had already won in the by-polls on SAD ticket.
Expressing confidence that the SAD-BJP alliance would get absolute majority in the ensuing polls in Delhi, 86-year-old Badal said it was the need of hour for ushering in an era of all-round development of Delhi.