Fashioned on the lines of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s Kisan yatra in Uttar Pradesh, the three-day road show of Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh has all that it takes to harvest farmers as a political constituency. It includes visits to mandis, the promise of unconditional debt-waiver, and also of jobs to needy families. Singh told Hindustan Times that the morale of Congress workers is ‘very high’ and ‘no one can browbeat them’. When asked about Navjot Singh Sidhu, Amarinder Singh said, “The media has made Sidhu some sort of a demigod. He is just another clown like (Punjab AAP convener) Gurpreet Ghuggi and (AAP MP) Bhagwant Mann. They are non-entities. Will the Congress president and vice-president not inform the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee if they are talking to Sidhu? Who are Sidhu, the Bains brothers and this hockey player (Pargat Singh) to dictate terms to a party like Congress? There will be no ‘understanding’ with this group of four. They can join the Congress unconditionally… There are two jokers already in the AAP. That Ghuggi has the mind of a ghuggi (bird), and Mann remains sloshed.”
When asked about AAP and ‘khoonda politics’, he said, “The youth have no jobs, the farmers are committing suicides, and mafias rule every business. When I am unhappy about everything happening in the state, won’t I be aggressive? I am also aggressive towards the AAP… (towards) the way they are molesting women and befooling people of Punjab. I am not carrying the khoonda (the stick) with me this time, but I am saying the same things.”
“Punjab polls are going to be violent. Whenever the Akalis are on a downswing, they try to create trouble. They are going to polarise and intimidate people. That’s why they have these 52 gangs! Their own DGP, Suresh Arora, says that’s the number of gangs in Punjab. Why don’t they lock them up? What we want from the Election Commission is the deployment of more central forces. Students Organisation of India (SOI) and Youth Akali Dal (YAD) chaps will be let loose at polling booths. What was their business to beat up Congress workers burning a ‘chitta’ Ravan in Ludhiana? The police cannot be fair as every police station in an assembly segment reports to the Akali MLA or halqa in-charge. We will revert to the old system. The morale of the Congress workers is very high. If the Akalis think they can browbeat us, they are highly mistaken,” he added.