In a bid to take on the ruling Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ahead of the Assembly election in Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday announced that he would start a “100 days yatra” (tour) across 100 constituencies in the State.
The yatra, he said, will start from the Zira constituency on August 18, with the aim “to expose the misdeeds of Congress government”. Addressing a press conference here, he also released a “charge-sheet” of allegations against the AAP.
Mr. Badal said his party will hold 700 public meetings during the tour. SAD workers would go to each and every village and ward in the State. “The purpose of this exercise is two-fold: one, to bring the corruption done by Congress government before the people, and the other to get feedback from them about their expectations from the SAD-BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party),” he said.
Mr. Badal also released a “charge-sheet” alleging corruption, including in Scheduled Caste scholarships, excise, COVID-19-related procurement and de-addiction tablets. Hitting out at Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, he accused Mr. Singh of “destroying Punjab in the last four-and-a-half years”.
“Punjab had the misfortune of having a Chief Minister who did not come out of his home, did not meet even his own Ministers, did not listen to the people, and even teachers seeking to meet him were thrashed. Nothing has been done for development. In fact, gangsters have been patronised and are wantonly running extortion rackets from inside State jails,” he said.
He said SAD alone represented the “regional aspirations of Punjabis”, who had been betrayed by both the Congress and the AAP. Mr Badal accused AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal of betraying the people of Punjab. “He [Kejriwal] is known to have taken opposite stands on the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal issue in Punjab and outside the State. He has also taken an anti-Punjab stand on the issue of stubble burning. Kejriwal had also played a hoax on farmers by supposedly supporting them but simultaneously notified the implementation of farm laws in Delhi. Even the 200 units free power scheme was a fraud because 90% of Delhi citizens could not avail it as consumers had to pay the full price even if they clocked one unit more than 200 units,” said Mr Badal.
Mr. Badal said in direct contrast to the Congress and the AAP, the SAD had a credible leadership which had always delivered on its commitments. “We are committed to meeting the aspirations of Punjabis at all costs,” he said.