Launching an all-out attack against Arvind Kejriwal in the backdrop of the Maur Mandi blast, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused him of “helping” forces who want to disturb Punjab’s peace and push it back to the dark days of militancy.
On the last day of the poll campaign in Punjab, Rahul addressed a gathering in Ballian village and referred to the Tuesday night’s car explosion in Maur Mandi, which left six dead.
The blast had occurred shortly after the “jansabha” of Congress candidate Harminder Singh Jassi, who is contesting the February 4 elections from the Maur assembly seat.
“The most important thing is the atmosphere you live in. If that atmosphere gets spoiled, violence starts or anger prevails, then the work of farmers, labourers, weaker sections suffers, entire state suffers,” Rahul said.
Taking a veiled dig at the ruling Akalis and the Aam Aadmi Party, Rahul said, “From one extremist thinking, Punjab should not go to other extremist thinking. Congress is one such party which takes all sections along. We want that Punjab should rapidly progress.”
“But if violence breaks, anger prevails, then everything will be destroyed. We have to understand that those forces, which destroyed Punjab earlier (referring to militancy period in the state), because of whom violence broke, such forces are yet again raising their head.”
“Bomb blast took place and six people died. Arvind Kejriwal, who is Delhi’s chief minister, is helping these forces and helping them raise their head. And this is most dangerous thing for Punjab.
“If these forces raise their head again, then entire agenda will be hijacked and Punjab will look in some other direction,” he warned.
Rahul said, “So, it is necessary all of us together, be from any religion, caste or creed, we all should again stand up so that we can build a Punjab, which was known for its spirit of giving, a path as shown Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh.”
Addressing the gathering while sitting a cot with villagers and farmers of Ballian, Rahul also talked about farmers issues, saying during United Progressive Alliance’s time loans of farmers amounting to Rs 70,000 crore were waived off and promised that if Congress forms the next government in the State, the burden of state’s farmers will be lessened.
Rahul is also scheduled to address poll rallies in Malwa belt on Thursday, which constitute bulk of the seats in the 117-member Punjab assembly.
After interacting with local villagers, Rahul also sat on a mat and shared food with them.
From Sangrur constituency, Congress has fielded its former MP Vijay Inder Singla, who was also present.
With the drug menace becoming a major election issue in Punjab, Rahul promised a tough law to wipe out “chitta” and jail for those responsible for playing with the lives of youth.
He appealed to the people to strengthen the hands of the Congress to bring growth back on the rails in Punjab.
Promising to generate employment avenues for the youth if Congress forms the government in Punjab, Rahul said backlog in jobs will be cleared and employment will be given to the Dalit youth.
The state, alleged Rahul, had seen destruction under the rule of the Badals.
He said the Congress would restore the spirit of 'tera hai’ (it’s yours) and not 'mera hai’ (it’s mine), “which the Badals had established over the past 10 years”.
Targeting the Badals, he said, “Guru Nanak Sahib said 'sab tera’ but the Badals’ philosophy is 'sab mera’.”
“The money of Punjab is the money of its farmers and labourers and would be spent on their development,” promised Rahul, reiterating that the loan of Punjab farmers would be waived off once the Congress comes to power.
The Congress vice president alleged that the Badals were squarely responsible for all the mess in the state, including industrial and agricultural ruin.
“They plundered the state for their own interests. They have ruined the state by controlling everything here,” he alleged.
“The industry is shifting to Jharkhand and Haryana,” he said.
With the Malwa belt of Punjab, also infamous for number of cancer cases, Rahul promised to have a world class cancer hospital set up so that people do not have to go elsewhere for treatment.
Referring to the train between Bathinda and Bikaner, which has come to be known as Malwa’s “cancer train”, Rahul said once a hospital is set up, people need not go anywhere.