Two days after Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh dismissed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a non-entity in Punjab’s political arena, BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh on Monday claimed that the saffron party was coming strong in Punjab in a big way and would form the next government in the state.

Chugh said even in 1992 when the party contested the Assembly elections all by itself, it had captured six seats with 16 per cent vote share. “The party has come a long way from there and has strengthened its presence in the state,” he said while asking the Punjab CM to come out of his ivory tower and give up an ostrich-like approach to understand the ground realities of Punjab politics.

The CM had said on Saturday that the BJP was welcome to contest all 117 Assembly seats in the state though the party would not be able to win a single seat without an alliance partner.

Ridiculing the above observation, Chugh said “It is a childish statement coming from a senior Congress leader and clearly demonstrates how the chief minister is cut off from the ground realities,”.

The BJP leader pointed out that in 1997 Amarinder had himself sought Shiromani Akali Dal ticket from Patiala because he knew that with the BJP’s support he would win the election. But he was denied the ticket by SAD’s Parkash Singh Badal.

Chugh flayed the Amarinder Singh government for not fulfilling any of its promises on drugs or farmers, or unemployment. He said the Congress had failed to take any action in the cases of Guru Granth Sahib sacrilege which makes every Punjabi hang his head in shame.

Meanwhile, Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma said the party organisation and the workers in Punjab are fully prepared for Assembly elections. He said the Shiromani Akali Dal has broken alliance with the BJP as part of its political ambitions.

He said the party’s success in the Assembly elections and by-elections in Bihar and other states have put a stamp on the BJP’s style of functioning. Sharma said that the Congress government of the state is responsible for the current situation in Punjab.