Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday challenged the Congress to name its chief ministerial candidate in Punjab even as he maintained that chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi had lost the trust of not only the people but also the top Congress leadership of the state.
Speaking to reporters after addressing two public meetings in Hoshiarpur, the SAD chief said there was a free for in the Punjab Congress on the issue of the chief ministerial face of the party on the eve of the State elections.
“Channi wants to stick on to the chair but the party leadership does not regard him as a bonafide chief minister. Pradesh Congress president Navjot Sidhu is blowing his own trumpet and disrespecting Channi every day. Punjabis have turned against Congress because it has failed to implement any of the promises made to them. You will see it self-destruct in the coming days,” he said.
Answering a question, Badal said it was the responsibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve pending issues of Punjab. “The people of the state have been waiting for decades for successive Prime Ministers to correct the injustice meted out to the state. The Prime minister should during his forthcoming visit to the state announce the transfer of Chandigarh as well as Punjabi speaking areas to Punjab besides assuring the state that its riparian rights over its river waters would be recognized. He should also announce a farm loan waiver on the occasion to help revive the agricultural economy of the state,” he added.
Meanwhile addressing the gatherings at both places; Badal said the SAD-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance was the only regional entity in the fray in the Punjab poll arena. He said the SAD represented the regional aspirations and had always stood up to defend the rights of the state.
While speaking about those who had left the SAD to join the BJP, the SAD leader said some leaders had gone to acquire security cover while others had joined hands with the saffron party to save their business interests.
The SAD president said the next SAD-BSP alliance government would focus on education and create mega schools in each block.
He also announced that the next alliance government would reserve 33 per cent seats in all technical educational institutions for students from government schools. He said an interest-free student loan of Rs 10 lakh would also be given to students for educational expenses in India and abroad.