Kicking off the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) campaign from Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh’s home turf, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party are banking on “rejected and dejected” leaders of the SAD. He also rubbished speculation that he may contest from two seats this time.
The speculation had gained traction particularly after the AAP announced that its firebrand leader Bhagwant Mann will contest against Sukhbir from wherever he may contest. Sukhbir is two-time sitting legislator from Jalalabad, where AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal made the announcement.
“I will contest from only one seat, and the party will announce all seats in the coming days,” Sukhbir said. On dissidence before and after the announcement of the SAD’s first list of candidates, he told reporters, “I am personally monitoring every seat, and denied tickets to only those who have controversies and no good image in public. From Inderbir Bolaria to Sarwan Singh Phillaur, all were rejected leaders of the SAD.”
In speech at the first rally here after announcement of ticket to Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra, Sukhbir focused on rural, Sikh and agricultural vote banks in his speech.
“Each vote to the AAP or Congress will be a vote against Punjabiat and Sikhism,” Sukhbir said, raising issues of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and Operation Bluestar.
Echoing what BJP president Amit Shah said two days ago in Jalandhar, Sukhbir said, “For continuous development, and to take maximum benefit of an NDA government in the state and Centre, vote for the SAD-BJP!”
He dubbed the AAP as a party of anarchists that will “bring miseries to farming, as it won’t be able to lift their crops”.
SAD-BJP, not AAP, raised Amarinder’s Swiss bank accounts
Sukhbir also asked Amarinder to “come clean” on the issue of Swiss bank accounts of his kin. “It’s not the AAP, but the SAD-BJP that raised this issue in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, and the Enforcement Directorate has already summoned him,” he said, rejecting Kejriwal’s allegations that Badal and Amarinder are hand in glove. “Actually, Congress and AAP are in hand in glove.”
On Amarinder’s announcement of 4G mobiles and data to youth, Sukhbir quipped, “Don’t believe in lies of Amarinder! He has become so big a liar that even his party leadership does not believe him.”
MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, and his son and SAD candidate Harinderpal Singh, too, addressed the gathering.