Chandigarh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while attacking the SAD-BJP’s main rival, Congress, said the party has become irrelevant in the country. Modi’s deployment in campaigning, is apparently the last ditch effort by the alliance to win over the voters.
There is no denying that there is wide-spread disillusionment with the SAD-BJP government in the state. There is serious anti-incumbency factor and there is no real chance that the alliance will be able to come back to power, third time in a row.
In the meantime, the Congress Vice President has announced that Captain Amarinder Singh will be the chief minister of the state if Congress wins the assembly election.
There is high-pitched battle between Modi and Rahul Gandhi in Punjab. Apparently Rahul Gandhi is also touring the state and addressing rallies along with the Captain and former cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu.
In the meantime Modi led the election campaign of the Akali-BJP coalition and addressed a rally in Jalandhar, while Gandhi on the first day of his three-day Punjab visit launched an offensive against the ruling combine at a rally at Majitha. Modi dismissed the Congress as a “sinking ship” and “history” and called upon the people not to vote for the opposition party in the coming assembly elections.
While addressing a rally, Modi said that “The Congress is on its last breath”. “The Congress has no principles or rules,” Modi said, adding it is struggling to even survive. “The country has seen the politics of destruction for 70 years and the youths of this country are suffering due to it. If you want to do politics, do politics of development,” Modi said.
Not to be cowed down by such assertions, Congress VP, Rahul Gandhi took a dig at the Prime Minister for standing with “the corrupt Akali Dal leaders and talking of fighting corruption”. He alleged that Modi was engaging in doublespeak by talking against corruption and still backing the “tainted” Badals.
Rahul went on to add that demonetisation move had adversely affected all sections of people, including farmers, small traders, and other such groups while the ruling Badals had allegedly made huge profits because “their hands are in every profitable business in the state”.
While attacking the alliance he thundered, “Modi will come here and say that I fight against corruption and I have done demonetisation. Can you tell me how one who talks about fighting against corruption, can stand with the Akalis…Can you tell me how Modi can stand on the same dais with (Deputy Chief Minister) Sukhbir Singh Badal and still talk about fighting corruption?”
Congress leader further said that the Akalis have “destroyed” the state and “brought it to its knees” and blamed the Badal family for the drugs problem in the state. Gandhi vowed to go hard against the menace of drugs “with harsh laws” if the Congress was voted to power. Modi, who spoke after Gandhi’s rally, weighed in on remarks made earlier by the Congress leader on the issue of drug menace.
On the other hand, Modi, without naming Gandhi, said “some people” were saying “improper things” about the youth of Punjab and they needed to be taught a lesson “so they don’t point fingers at the youth of the state”. Both Modi and Gandhi put an end to the speculation over their chief ministerial candidates. Modi said that Punjab wanted to see Parkash Singh Badal re-elected while Gandhi announced that the Congress’ chief ministerial candidate will be Captain Amarinder Singh — something that was expected.