Punjab Assembly elections | Good ties with Centre crucial for Punjab’s progress, says Amarinder

On the move Punjab Lok Congress chief Amarinder Singh at an election rally in Sanaur.

On the move Punjab Lok Congress chief Amarinder Singh at an election rally in Sanaur.

As electioneering for the upcoming Assembly poll gatherers momentum in Punjab, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who formed the Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) after resigning from the Congress, is strongly pitching for strengthening of the State’s economy for long term development.

With less than ten days left for voting, the 79-year-old stalwart is canvassing to garner support for his candidates and his alliance partners — the BJP and SAD (Sanyukt).

It’s past noon as the cavalcade of Captain (retd.) Amarinder rolls out of the new Moti Bagh Palace in Patiala for Sanour, a rural seat, to address a political gathering. At the Sanour grain market, as the waiting crowd welcomes him, Capt. Amarinder stresses the need to strengthen the economy of Punjab, which will help in generating employment, increase income and eventually bring prosperity to everyone.

For this “economic strengthening”, he asserts that it’s important that there’s a strong Centre-State relation, and therefore voting for PLC-BJP-SAD (Sanyukt) alliance is necessary.

“Let me tell you if anyone thinks that they can run a government without the Centre’s help in Punjab, it’s not possible. I have been a two-time Chief Minister.. For arranging almost everything we (Punjab) have to go to Delhi. In today’s circumstances when Punjab’s treasury is empty, if we (Punjab) are not with the Central government then tell me how will things such as schools, hospitals, roads, water etc. be brought to Punjab,” he asks.

Asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured him of working towards the betterment of Punjab, Capt. Amarinder says, “When I left Congress and formed PLC then I went to Mr. Amit Shah and conveyed to him that we want to contest the election with you (BJP). Later, Mr. Modi himself called me and said he was very happy and stated we will work together and work in Punjab’s interest. The current (BJP) government at the Centre is there till 2024 and after it, the BJP will be in power for another five years, which I guarantee you. This means for the next seven years at least we (Punjab) will be able to get whatever we want from the Centre for the State’s progress,” he says.

As the PLC chief concludes his speech, a group of commission agents of the grain market, enjoying the late afternoon sun, say the entry of the PLC-BJP-SAD (Sanyukt) alliance has spiced up the election.

“With so many parties in the fray, it’s difficult to predict who is going to win in the election. I feel the Amarinder’s alliance will dent the Congress votes. I am an Akali supporter and hope that Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra, who is currently MLA from Sanour wins again. But no doubt it looks a tough battle this time with Aam Aadmi Party also making noise,” says one of them not wanting to be identified.

Running a daily needs shop at Sanour, 38-year-old Krishan Kumar says he has been voting for the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal for years but this time wants to try a new option. “I will vote for the AAP this time. Want to try them once, if they don’t perform then next time I won’t give them the vote,” he says. Sunil Kumar of the same locality endorsing the view, saying, “They (AAP) deserve one chance.”

Capt. Amarinder also evokes national security issue in his campaigning. At a gathering in Banur, he hits out at the Congress over the nomination of Charanjit Singh Channi as chief ministerial candidate even after his relative was caught with so-called “mafia earnings”.

“I decided to ally with the BJP and continue to work for Punjab, in the interest of its peace and security,” he says, expressing concern over the threat from across the border as well as the recent sacrilege incidents in the State.

“We will not let the social fabric of Punjab be destroyed,” he adds and terms the recent spate of sacrilege incidents as unfortunate and aimed at dividing society.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 11:58:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/punjab-assembly/punjab-assembly-elections-good-ties-with-centre-crucial-for-punjabs-progress-says-amarinder/article38420330.ece