Capt Amarinder projects 65-odd seats for Congress in Punjab polls
Says there was marked swing in party’s favour in last 48 hours before polling
Chandigarh, February 21
Exuding optimism of his party sweeping the Punjab assembly polls with around 65 seats, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said there had been a clear swing in favour of the Congress in the last 48 hours before poll, with people choosing to vote for stability, governance and peace in the state.
Speaking during a discussion after the launch of his authorised biography – The People’s Maharaja – Captain Amarinder said while it was unfortunate but the Shiromani Akali Dal ( SAD ) seemed unlikely to get more than a handful of seats as there we had been a lot of pent-up angel against the Badals. The Aam Aadmi Party
(AAP), on the other hand, was completely lacking in experience, which the people of Punjab did not want, he added.
Drawing from his political experience, Captain Amarinder said the Congress was poised to win 65 (plus/minus) seats and he was optimistic about forming the next government to bring Punjab back on the track of growth and progress. He also expressed the confidence of winning the Lambi seat, which he had fought against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, saying the angst among the people against the SAD government had swayed the vote in his favour.
Captain Amarinder, who described his biography authored by Khushwant Singh as `detailed and comprehensive’, fielded a wide range of questions from Hindustan Times senior resident editor Ramesh Vinayak on various subjects related to his personal life as well as military and political careers.
On the sizzling SYL issue, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief said it was the central government’s responsibility to ensure that there is no forcible entry by INLD workers into Punjab. Blaming the Badal government squarely for failing to protect Punjab’s water rights, he warned that the issue could trigger revival of terrorism in the state if not addressed. Depriving southern Punjab, which had a history of militancy, of water could lead to rise of terrorism in the region, he warned, questioning the Badals’ failure to fight the case properly in the Supreme Court.
Captain Amarinder warned INLD against taking the law in its hands, saying the people of Punjab would not taking any threat against their lives and future lying down.
To a question about the various occasions on which he had used the power of resignations to make his point on some or the other critical issue, Captain Amarinder said with total frankness that if one does not agree with the decision of a government or institution then one has no business being a part of it. However, he made a distinction of his resignation from the Army, which he said was necessitated by family reasons and which he later withdrew due to the sudden outbreak of the war in 1965.
Captain Amarinder explained the rationale behind his decision to rejoin the Congress after having resigned from it over Operation Bluestar, saying it was the right thing to do in the circumstances. The Akalis also behaved abominably with Operation Thunderbolt, about which he was not taken into confidence despite being Number 3 in their government, said Captain Amarinder, adding that it thus made sense to join a party (the Congress) into which he could fit his vision of Punjab’s development.
All his decisions, said the PPCC president, were motivated by his desire to promote the interests of Punjab, in which his heritage was rooted. In the same vein, Captain Amarinder made it clear that the occasional differences he had with the Gandhi family were also linked with his commitment to securing the interests of Punjab at all costs.