Sounding the poll bugle for the assembly elections early next year, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday vowed to end the rule of the Badals in Punjab.
Donning a yellow turban in place of the party’s trademark topi (cap), an upbeat Kejriwal announced at the AAP’s well-attended Maghi Mela rally in the Badals’ citadel: “The time for change has come in Punjab. I vow to end the rule of the Badals.”
He exhorted the gathering not to be afraid of the ruling family in Punjab, saying “How can a Sikh be afraid of anything?” He went on to add that he had been warned many times that the Badals were “very dangerous” and that he was putting his life in danger by standing up against them.
“(The 10th Sikh master) Guru Gobind Singh had made Singhs and a ‘singh (lion)’ is never afraid of anyone. The Guru sacrificed his family for the sake of truth and justice. Even if I have to lay down my life for the sake of Punjab, I will not step back,” Kejriwal said in an emotional speech.
He said the Congress and the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine were hand in glove and the AAP’s fight was against both.
Doesn’t spare Majithia
The AAP leader said: “The whole of Punjab has been blaming state revenue and public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia for the drug menace but the Badal government has not taken any action against him.”
Kejriwal said he would put Majithia behind bars if his party was voted to power. “Our young team will do this. Only the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man) can put him behind bars,” he said.
Promises to punish bir desecraters
On the recent incidents of Guru Granth Sahib ‘bir’ desecrations that caused unrest in the state, Kejriwal said that he had been deeply hurt. He said the holy book was not a sacred text only for the Sikhs but also for people of other religions. “I will sack every single person who was behind this if I come to power,” he said.
Farmers the priority
Kejriwal talked about the condition of farmers saying, “From the day I came to power in Delhi, I haven’t let any farmer die. We provided compensation of Rs 50,000 to all farmers. We will do this in Punjab as well. We will not let our farmers die.”
Cancer hospitals, not train
He said that he had heard about the train that goes from Bathinda to Bikaner daily with cancer patients looking for affordable treatment. “If elected, the AAP will set up more cancer hospitals instead of depending on a train,” he added.