On a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Ludhiana, Congress workers burnt the ‘Chitta Ravan’ (drugs effigy) in the industrial town. State Congress chief Amarinder Singh declared an all-out war against the “Badal-backed mafia”, saying with the burning of the ‘Chitta Ravan’, the stage was set for the “total annihilation of all the criminal forces in the state”. Taking his party’s anti-drugs battle to the heart of Ludhiana – the scene of the Dussehra eve attack on Congress workers allegedly by Akali Dal activists, he hailed the blasting of the ‘Chitta Ravan’.
Besides that of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, cut-outs of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and state Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia were pasted on the effigies set ablaze by Congress workers. Amarinder had invited the party workers injured in the Dussehra eve attack to set the ‘Chitta Ravan’ on fire at the same place where the assault had taken place. Accusing the Badals of “plunging the state into total anarchy”, with the “mafia ruling every part of life”, the state Congress chief said, “Badal has shrewdly used the last 10 years of his misrule in Punjab to drain the state of all its glory.”
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“Do not go by his innocent face. He (Badal) is an extremely shrewd man who knows how to fill his own pockets at the cost of the people of Punjab,” he alleged. “Industries have fled the state, farmers are committing suicide, Dalits are being massacred, children and youth are falling prey to drugs,” Amarinder said, adding, “No section of the society is insulated from the greed and wrath of the Badals.” “The autocratic Badals have seized control of all the vital functions of the state with its mafia controlling the drugs, sand, liquor, bus permits and a host of other businesses,” alleged the former chief minister.
Assembly polls are due in the state early next year. Amarinder said if the Congress was voted to power in the state, he would get “every scam and criminal allegation against the Badals probed”. “They will be put behind bars if found guilty,” he warned, adding that “nobody would be spared” and the process of law would take its own course. Amarinder also took a dig at Modi for his “half-hearted attempts” to reach out to the industries in Punjab ahead of the Assembly polls.
“The anti-drugs war is just the beginning. We will not allow them (the Badals) to go scot-free,” he said, while challenging the Badals to prove their innocence if they could. “With the burning of the ‘Chitta Ravan’, we are burning the mafia patronised and run by the Badals,” senior Congress leader Asha Kumari said, adding that her party would spare no effort to bring the guilty to book.