Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) chief Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the Congress had made a big mistake by announcing a chief minister’s face as “a chief minister should be decided on grounds of capability and not on the metric of caste, be it a Scheduled Caste, Jat or Hindu, which they had done.”
Pointing out that Punjab was never before divided on caste or religious lines, Capt Amarinder said “Charanjit Channi does not have the calibre of a chief minister,” and his tall claims cannot fool the people of the state.
“Channi claims he has done everything in 111 days, he’s fooling the people. Every project has a gestation period and takes months to start,” he noted, warning the people against getting carried away by such brazen lies since all the projects that Channi talks of were initiated by his government.
Interacting with the media after a public meeting in support of the Patiala Rural PLC candidate, Sanjeev Kumar Bittu, the former chief minister warned of an explosion soon from Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had been discarded by his own party for chief ministerial candidature in favour of Channi, saying the PPCC president was too ambitious to stay quiet for long.
Pointing out that leaders like Channi and Sukhjinder Randhawa had backstabbed him and misled the Congress high command after he had supported them in their political careers, the PLC chief said these men could not be trusted.
“They will compromise the interests of Punjab to further their own,” he warned, in response to questions. He recalled how he had inducted Channi into the Congress and helped him become MLA and ensured Randhawa’s seat in the last election.
Answering a question, the former chief minister said there was no comparison between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi as far as political and public life experience goes.
He had known Modi for long and used to meet him frequently in Delhi at a time when they were both chief ministers, he said, adding that the Modi government had helped him whenever Punjab was in dire straits.
“We have to work with them to ensure a safe future for Punjab,” he stressed. “The future of Punjab depends on these polls,” he said, underlining the need for close Centre-state coordination to secure the state’s interests.
To a question on whether his wife, MP Preneet Kaur, would campaign for him or the Congress, Amarinder said it was for her to answer that.
“Politics is different…my mother was in the BJP and I was in the Congress. We sat in opposite benches in Parliament. Politics politics ‘hoti hai pyaar pyaar hota hai’,” he remarked.
Urging the people to vote for “vikas” which only the NDA could provide and not “vinaash”, which the other parties would push Punjab towards, Amarinder expressed confidence that the people of the state would look after their interests and vote accordingly.
He trashed the surveys favouring the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), saying such polls were conducted even in 2017 and had proven to be false. While he could not predict the number of seats they would get, his party in alliance with the BJP and SAD (Sanyukt) was set to form the next government, he asserted.