Calling for a vote against the Akalis who he said resorted to sacrilege to polarise communities, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday made an emotional appeal to not let Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP destroy the country’s biggest strength — its unity.
Addressing an election rally here in support of Congress candidate from Sangrur Kewal Singh Dhillon, he said this land of martyrs was an inspiration for those who had sacrificed themselves for an India that belongs to all religions and communities.
Vowing not to spare the Badals or anyone involved in trying to divide the people of Punjab through desecration of the holy scriptures of various religions, the Chief Minister said they would have to pay for their sins, including the firing on people protesting against sacrilege cases.
Paying his tributes to Shaheed Udham Singh, whose picture he was presented, Amarinder Singh said the freedom fighter’s selfless sacrifice remains an inspiration for Indians even today.
He recalled the incident of Udham Singh keeping a bottle of blood-soaked Jallianwala Bagh soil next to his pillow, for years, out of sheer grief at the tragic killings of innocent Indians.
Those people were of a different mettle, he said, exhorting people to ensure that the India of their dreams was not destroyed by communal forces.
The nation was passing through difficult times and these Lok Sabha elections would decide its future by choosing between those engaged in communalising politics and those desirous of building a secular India, said the Chief Minister.
Modi and his men are breaking the strength of the nation and usurping the achievements of the armed forces as their own for furthering their political interests, he said, adding that as an Army officer he served Indian forces and not Modi’s forces.
Attacking the Akali candidate from Sangrur Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Amarinder Singh blamed the former Punjab Finance Minister for the fiscal crisis faced by the state and the additional debt burden of Rs 31,000 crore he had put on the coming generations.
He said his government would complete the farm debt waiver process for the 10.25 lakh small and marginal farmers as promised.
“If we can do it despite the fiscal crisis in Punjab, why could Parkash Singh Badal not do it?” he asked.
However, he reiterated that debt relief was only a temporary measure and implementation of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission report was the only solution to end the woes of the farmers in the country.
The promise of smartphones to aid youths in education is on way to being fulfilled, Amarinder Singh said, adding that the first batch of such phones would be distributed soon after the elections.