New Delhi: Welcoming the Election Commission for its single-phase poll plan and imposition of model code of conduct in the state, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh exuded confidence that the party would win more than 70 seats to emerge the clear winner in the February 4 Assembly polls.
Dismissing any competition from either Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) or Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Mr Singh described drugs, corruption and misgovernance of the Badal government as key issues in these polls, which he said would be determined by the anti-incumbency factor against the Badals and the total collapse of AAP as a movement.
“While the SAD government led by Badals had completely destroyed trade, industry and agriculture in the state, which was on Wednesday gripped by unemployment and a host of other serious problems, Arvind Kejriwal’s party was in a mess with outsiders unable to save it from inevitable defeat in the polls,” he said in a statement.
He said people had no faith left in AAP after witnessing their conduct in Punjab and their failed governance in Delhi.
“With serious charges of corruption, sale of tickets, molestation of girls etc, AAP had no standing left in the state,” Mr Singh said, adding that Mr Kejriwal was “scared” to contest elections in Punjab but was wanting to be the Chief Minister, in case his party wins.
In response to a question that he would be happy to fight against another Army man, General JJ Singh, Amarinder pointed out that General Singh had no connect whatsoever with Patiala.
“He says Patiala is his ‘nanke’ (maternal side). And, as the saying goes, hum unko naani yaad dila denge,” he said in a lighter vein.
To a question, he said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was very happy with Congress manifesto for Punjab.
The manifesto, he said, is a comprehensive document which would lay the roadmap for the party to fight against problems faced by people including drugs, corruption, unemployment.
To another question, Mr Singh said Navjot Singh Sidhu would be joining Congress soon and accused Mr Kejriwal of spreading disinformation on the issue in a desperate bid to undermine his (Captain’s) role in the party.
“Kejriwal should worry about his own party,” he said, adding that the AAP leader was evidently scared of him.
The PPCC chief said while it was up to Mr Sidhu and his wife to decide who wanted to contest from Amritsar East, the party would utilise his services to campaign in the state.
He denied any infighting in the allocation of tickets, saying the entire party was one in its fight to save Punjab from the misrule of the Badals and the nefarious designs of AAP. The remaining tickets would be announced soon.
Amarinder Singh hailed the imposition of the MCC by the EC as an important step to prevent further vitiation of Punjab’s poll atmosphere, which the Badal government had virtually destroyed with its anti-people policies and power-obsessed actions.
He also welcomed the EC decision to hold the Assembly polls in Punjab in a single phase and thanked them for accepting his suggestion on this count.
Responding to a question, Mr Singh said he would request Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka to campaign for the party.