JALANDHAR: The Congress is yesterday’s news and now collapsing across the country, Prime Minister Narendra told Punjab today, advising the state to stick with the time-tested Parkash Singh Badal, once the youngest chief minister and now the oldest. Punjab votes for a new government next week and PM Modi asked the state to return the Akali Dal-BJP for an unprecedented third straight term.
“You all can see how the Congress is collapsing across the country…They are desperate for power, their desperation is like that of a fish out of water,” PM Modi said at a rally in Punjab’s Jalandhar, a few hours after the Congress’ Rahul Gandhi launched a big attack on the Badals at Majitha, about 100 km away.
So badly off is the Congress, PM Modi said, that it “can go to any extent for the power of the chair,” pointing to the rival party’s election tie-ups in states like Bengal, Bihar and now Uttar Pradesh, where it is ready to play junior partner to regional heavyweights.
PM Modi credited Chief Minister Badal with working “night and day for the unity of Hindus and Sikhs” and said that in their many meetings all that the 89-year-old chief minister has discussed with him is the welfare of Punjab’s farmers and its poor.
“Badal Sahab has always been true to Punjab, he has always given his best and Punjab would love to see him lead it towards development and a better future,” the Prime Minister said, accusing rival parties of “going to any extent in their selfishness and greed for power to ruin Punjab’s image” and asking the state to “punish them all for speaking about this great land in bad light”.
In his speech at Majitha, Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Badal family has “taken away everything from Punjab” accusing them of forcing the people of the state to pay a “Badal tax.” Mr Gandhi is on a three-day tour of Punjab that will see him travel to all the seats that the immediate and extended family of the chief minister is contesting. He began his visit in Majitha, the constituency of powerful Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia, the brother in law of Sukhbir Badal, who is deputy chief minister and the Chief Minister’s son. He will also campaign in Mr Badal senior’s Lambi constituency and his son’s Jalalabad constituency.
The PM mocked the Congress’ efforts saying the party was so sure it was winning the 2012 election that it had begun practicing taking oath. But for the first time ever Punjab had re-elected a government, voting the Akali-Dal BJP back in paper. It would happen again this time, PM Modi said.0