It’s AAP versus Akali-BJP-Congress in Punjab: Punjab AAP leader Sanjay Singh (IANS Interview)

Chandigarh, May 9 (IANS) As an upbeat Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) gets ready for its first big battle after claiming Delhi, one of its top leaders says the AAP is fighting the “Mahagatbandhan” (Grand Alliance) of the ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine and the Congress in Punjab.

“We are fighting the ‘Mahagatbandhan’ of Akali Dal-BJP and Congress. They are all together,” senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh, the party in-charge for Punjab, told IANS in an interview here.

“The people will wipe out the dirty politics of Punjab. The cloud (Badal) of corruption will be cleared from Punjab,” he asserted.

Sanjay Singh, who has been focussing on Punjab for the past 18 months and is upbeat about the party’s prospects, said: “Other parties are scared of AAP. This is the biggest reason for our victory (in Punjab).

“The Congress, Akali Dal, BJP are all targeting us. All have a common agenda that AAP should not come (to power). They have been sharing power for five years each and have looted Punjab. Now they are together to ensure that, under no circumstances, the AAP comes to power here,” Sanjay Singh said.

In recent months, the Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance, which has ruled Punjab since 2007, and the main opposition Congress have stepped up their attacks on the AAP and its top leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The Akali Dal-BJP and the Congress are not targeting each other as much as they are targeting the AAP.

“If the AAP comes (to power), their gundagardi, corruption and mafia rule will end. We will put such people behind the bars. Whatever ‘dhanda’ (illegal activities) they were running so far, AAP is emerging as the people’s first choice to end all this mess,” Sanjay Singh said.

That the AAP is taking the Punjab election very seriously can be seen from the fact that it is ready to finalise its candidate for the 117 assembly seats by July this year though the elections are scheduled in February next year.

“We have a process for selection of candidates. Everyone has to go through that process. People who are joining AAP have not been promised seats. They will also come through the same process. The first list (of candidates) will be out by May-end or June first week. By July we will finalise all candidates,” he said.

Asked who will be the AAP’s chief ministerial candidate, Sanjay Singh said: “I feel we will bring a CM face before the elections in Punjab. We will provide a unanimous choice and an honest face before the election.

“People have experienced and suffered enough of Akali Dal-BJP and the Congress. They now realise that an honest alternative is available in AAP and they are supporting us.”

Sanjay Singh insists the AAP stands a very good chance of winning the Punjab battle.

“In the present scenario, I can say with confidence that Delhi’s (electoral) history will be repeated in Punjab. The kind of support we are getting, be it from intellectuals, farmers, women, youth, all categories are giving big support to the AAP,” he asserted.

“‘Prachand bahumat ke saath humari sarkar banegi’ (We will form a government with absolute majority). A professional survey by C-Voter had projected that AAP is getting 100 seats in Punjab,” he said.

Much to the frustration of the Akali Dal and the Congress, the AAP is drawing major support from Punjab’s huge NRI (Non Resident Indian) community.

“The NRIs are giving big support to AAP to save Punjab. NRIs did calling campaign for AAP even during the Lok Sabha polls. The NRIs want better law and order and a progressive No. 1 Punjab,” Sanjay Singh said.

Listing the issues and concerns of NRIs, Singh said: “The Akali Dal land mafia has forcibly occupied properties of scores of NRIs. When the AAP government comes, we will ensure that these properties and land are given back to NRIs within six months after getting them vacated from the mafia.

“We will act against the Akali land mafia. Drugs, corruption and mafia rule will be wiped out.”

Sanjay Singh, who faces a defamation case in a Ludhiana court on this issue, does not mince words to level allegations against Punjab’s powerful cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia for alleged links with the drugs racket in Punjab.

“For the AAP, the biggest issue in Punjab is drugs. Under Majithia’s patronage, the drugs racket is flourishing. We will stop it completely once our government is formed and will rehabilitate those addicted.

“Under the Akali Dal government, the land mafia, sand mafia, cable mafia and transport mafia have flourished,” he alleged.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

–IANS

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