Launching a scathing attack on the Congress dispensation in Punjab, BJP president Amit Shah Sunday alleged that the “raja-maharaja” government brought to a standstill the development projects and schemes started during the SAD-BJP rule.
He also hit out at Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for hugging Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony in Islamabad last year.
Addressing a state-level BJP workers’ meet, Amit Shah made light of the opposition parties’ effort to stitch up a ”Mahagathbandhan” saying a leaderless alliance cannot take the country forward.
The people of this country have made up their mind to bring the BJP-led NDA back to power, Mr Shah said.
“This grand alliance cannot take the country forward, it cannot make the country superpower. Only a government under PM Modi can do so. Can Congress party give befitting reply to terror attacks? Only Narendra Modi government can,” he claimed.
At the meeting, a two-minute silence was observed in memory of the 40 CRPF personnel killed in the February 14 Pulwama terror attack. Of the slain jawans, four belonged to Punjab.
“I want to tell the families (of the slain CRPF men) that the blood shed by the 40 jawans will not go in vain. Our government will teach terrorists a lesson,” the BJP president said.
Touching upon how Punjab for decades has been meeting the country’s foodgrain needs and safeguarding its borders, he said the centre has left no stone unturned to ensure the state’s development.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were always liberal in giving grants to Punjab, and the state got Rs 1,61,907 crore under the NDA dispensation as against the UPA’s Rs 30,157 crore, Mr Shah said.
Mr Shah spelled out several schemes and projects for Punjab by the Modi government, including an IIM for Amritsar, AIIMS in Bathinda, improved road network, upgradation of road network and 41 projects sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries led by SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
Describing the Amarinder Singh-led Congress dispensation as “raja-maharaja government”, he claimed there is no match for the previous SAD-BJP regime led by Parkash Singh Badal.
“These days Capt Sahab (Amarinder Singh) has become vocal, may be because polls are near. Sometimes he also goes to office. Now, he has started saying the Centre has not done this and that. He is seeking accountability from us,” Shah said.
“But what about his promises to farmers, on ending the drug menace, about unemployment allowance? Even Rahul Gandhi had vowed loan waiver for Punjab farmers, but the way they came out with a loan waiver, it has not benefitted the state’s peasants,” Mr Shah claimed.
He alleged that several schemes started by the SAD-BJP government has been stopped by the Congress dispensation.
“I do not know whether this government is the one to carry development or stop it. Raja Sahab (Amarinder Singh, who belongs to the erstwhile Patiala royals), you stopped development works,” Mr Shah said.
About the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, the BJP national president said Modi government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to give justice to the victims.
“For 30 years, not even a single person was punished. Now, Sajjan Kumar is behind the bars,” he said.
Slamming Mr Sidhu, the BJP chief said, “He claims that he went to Pakistan and made Kartarpur Sahib corridor possible… The Pakistan Army chief who is responsible for killing our soldiers, you gave him a warm hug and the lowered country’s image.”
“You (Sidhu) did not bring Kartarpur, but you are in that party which handed over Kartarpur to Pakistan at the time of partition, which could easily have been a part of India.”
Mr Shah, instead, credited the Modi government for the corridor, linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev’s – to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district to facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims.
About the proposed “mahagathbandhan” of opposition parties, he sought to know from Congress president Rahul Gandhi who is the leader of this alliance.
“Can the grand alliance do any good to this country? Rahul baba who is the leader of this alliance? If people elect you, who will become prime minister?,” Mr Shah posed.
“The leaders of this alliance are seeking mandate from public, but they have not decided who their leader is. Whereas, we are clear that on getting majority, Narendra Modi will once again become prime minister. The BJP, the Akali Dal and our other allies are going to fight under Modi ji’s leadership.
“I can see the writing on the wall. Modi is once again going to be PM… Congress can daydream,” he said.
On the centre announcing Rs 6,000 annual financial assistance for small and marginal farmers, Mr Shah said Rahul Gandhi makes jokes about this scheme while demanding loan waiver.
“During the 10 years (of UPA rule), they waived Rs 52,000 crore of three crore farmers. Through our scheme, farmers will get Rs 75,000 crore every year, which works out to Rs 7.5 lakh crore for 10 years,” he said.