The Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government had to be replaced as it was being run by the BJP from Delhi, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra claimed on Sunday and also attacked the AAP, saying it has “emerged” from the RSS. Addressing a public meeting in Kotkapura ahead of the February 20 elections to the 117-member state assembly, she also accused the AAP, the main opposition party in Punjab, of doing nothing in Delhi and said its government there has been a “failure”.
People must be wary of the Delhi model of governance being touted by the AAP as even the BJP came to power at the Centre showcasing its Gujarat model in 2014, but the reality is now before everyone, Priyanka Gandhi said. Claiming that the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP “emerged” from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), she said it has an ideology similar to that of the BJP.
On the issue of Singh being removed as Punjab chief minister by the Congress in September last year and being replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi, she, without naming the former chief minister, said, “It is true that for five years we had a government here, it is also true that there were some deficiencies in that government. It lost its way somewhere.” “That government stopped running from Punjab. That government started running from Delhi. In Delhi even, not by the Congress, but was being run by the BJP and BJP-led government. That hidden nexus has come out. That is why we had to change that government,” ” Priyanka Gandhi said. Singh’s removal from the post came amid a bitter power tussle with Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. Later, Singh quit the Congress to form the Punjab Lok Congress, which will fight the polls along with BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt).
On Singh’s removal, Priyanka Gandhi said, “We were listening to your voice and we were realising something wrong is happening.” But things were set right and the people of Punjab got a person in Channi, “who comes from amongst you, a chief minister who comes from a poor family, who did so much in 100-150 odd days”, she said. Attacking the AAP, she said it plans to govern Punjab from Delhi as per the dictates of Kejriwal. “Don’t repeat the last mistake by supporting the AAP,” Priyanka Gandhi said, adding Punjab’s government should run from Punjab.
She addressed ‘Navi Soch, Nava Punjab’ poll meetings in Kotkapura and Dhuri, from where the AAP has fielded its state chief and CM candidate Bhagwant Mann. In Dhuri, when Sidhu’s name was being called from the stage to speak before Channi, the Amritsar East MLA gestured from his seat to let the Punjab chief minister speak and that he would listen. Sidhu did not address the meet.
On stage, Channi was seated in the middle, with Sidhu to his left and Priyanka Gandhi to his right. In the evening, Priyanka Gandhi took out a ‘Jansampark Abhiyan in Zirakpur in Dera Bassi constituency, in which Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda was present.
In the meetings, she said if the Channi-led Congress government returns to power, needy families will get eight gas cylinders free each year and women from these families will get Rs 1,100 a month. Slamming the AAP and the BJP, she said their policies are not helping the people move ahead and appealed for bringing the Congress back to power for Punjab’s development.
Accusing the Kejriwal government of doing nothing in Delhi, the Congress general secretary said the AAP is showing its Delhi model through advertisements to seek votes. People have seen the reality after the BJP came to power showcasing the Gujarat model. They got a government under which unemployment increased, farmers got crushed and one which did not focus on health and education, Priyanka Gandhi said. “Delhi’s reality is no different. From where the AAP emerged, it has emerged from the RSS… In Delhi, there is nothing in the name of improvement in health and educational institutions. You are told condition of schools has improved. Come to Delhi to see the reality, ask Delhi’s people how they are living… everyone saw oxygen shortage, how hospitals were filled, that government failed…they spend Rs 200 crore on ads during Covid times. Do you want such a government here?” she said.
“They want to form government to further their own politics. Your welfare is not in their hearts,” she said. Seeking one more tenure for the Congress, she spelled out several pro-people initiatives of the Channi government.
With Channi, Sidhu, Congress senior leader Sunil Jakhar also sharing the stage with her, she, without naming anyone, said sometimes there may be different statements made by different leaders, they may have grudge, “but I can tell you all Congress leaders sitting here, have Punjab and Punjabiyat is in their hearts”. “They may fight amongst themselves, but they cannot deceive Punjab,” she asserted, adding her party’s politics is not to capture power, but is serving people.
“We don’t want to play with your emotions, we don’t want to make big announcements which we later cannot fulfil,” she said. Earlier, seeking to strike a chord with the people, she said she is married in a Punjabi family and can feel Punjabiyat from her heart.
With inputs from News18