Rahul tears into Badals’ corruption, questions Modi for supporting SAD
Jalalabad/Jalandhar (Punjab), Jan 28 (IANS) Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday made a frontal attack on the “massive corruption” by the family of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his claim of fighting corruption while supporting the Punjab’s corrupt regime.
Rahul said that Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal President, was an “icon of corruption”.
“Sukhbir Badal is an icon of corruption. The biggest corruption in any state of the country is occurring in Punjab,” Rahul said at a rally in support of Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu.
Bittu, a Congress MP from Ludhiana, is pitted against Sukhbir Singh Badal from Jalalabad assembly seat for the February 4 assembly elections. The seat is witnessing a high-profile contest with AAP MP and satirist Bhagwant Mann also in the fray.
Questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claims of fighting corruption, Rahul said: “Modi should explain why is he supporting Sukhbir if he is fighting corruption?”
Rahul said Sukhbir Badal, whose party the Shiromani Akali Dal has an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state since 2007, said that the SAD had deviated from the ideology of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev.
“Sukhbir Badal claims he is protecting the Sikh religion and ideology of Guru Nanak Dev. But Sukhbir and the Akali Dal say everything is theirs,” the Congress leader said.
He said the Badal family had monopolised all businesses in the state, including transport, cable TV and mining etc., and were getting commission from liquor trade.
“The Badals have finished all industry in Punjab. They don’t allow people from other countries and states to invest and start industry here. Industry has moved to other states and Punjab youths are rendered jobless,” Rahul said.
He said the youths were being denied government jobs by the Badal government.
“Amarinder Singh (Congress Chief Ministerial candidate) would change the face of Punjab, which had been completely devastated by the corrupt and tyrannical Badals, in just two years after taking over as Chief Minister, Rahul said.
Every section of the society would progress under the Congress, which was the only party concerned about the poor,” he added.
The Congress Vice-President cautioned people against supporting the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of Arvind Kejriwal.
“Punjab needs a Chief Minister from Punjab. (Arvind) Kejriwal runs Delhi like a dictator,” he said.
He reiterated that Congress Punjab unit Chief Amarinder Singh would again be the Chief Minister if the party returns to power in Punjab.
On Friday too, Rahul Gandhi had slammed Modi as well the Akali Dal over the issue of corruption.
“Modi talks of corruption and religion at various places. But how can he stand with the corrupt Akali Dal leaders and talk of fighting corruption,” Gandhi wondered at an election rally in Akali stronghold Majitha in Amritsar district.
Majitha is represented in the assembly by Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who is a brother-in-law of Sukhbir Badal and brother of Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur.
The 117-member Punjab assembly will go to polls on February 4. The counting of votes will be held on March 11.
The main contest is between the ruling SAD-BJP alliance, the Congress and the AAP.