“Main Tunahu 2-4 truck notan de bhar ke bhejanga development de vaste, naye wale note oh purane wale nahin, tusin bas ik bari Sarabjit Singh Makkar nu ethon jitva davo. (I will send you 2-4 trucks loaded with currency notes for development, the new one, not that old one, you just make Sarabjit Singh Makkar a winner from here)”.
This was Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal speaking in Sofi Pind village of Jalandhar Cantt Assembly constituency on Thursday while addressing a small audience, mostly of school and college students, in favour of the newly announced SAD candidate Sarabjit Singh Makkar from here. Sukhbir left no words in praising him at the meeting which was boycotted by all local senior SAD leaders, most of whom are opposed to Makkar’s candidature.
Sukhbir also laid the foundation of an Industrial Training Institute at Sofi Pind, which also happens to be the native village of state BJP chief and Union Minister of State Vijay Sampla. The deputy CM also announced a grant of Rs 1.25 crore for the development of Sofi village. At this point, Makkar and Sampla interrupted him, saying the grant would be in new currency notes. Sukhbir promptly said yes in the mic.
“Makkar is very close to me and my father (CM Parkash Singh Badal), is very hardworking. You have to make him win for the development of your own area,” said the Deputy CM.
Going a step further, he said, “My father even gave him Rs 10 crore when he gave him the party ticket. My father could never say no to him.” Later, when asked by reporters about the controversy over Makkar’s candidature as SAD’s district president Gurcharan Singh Channi had openly revolted against him, Sukhbir said, “Everything will be settled soon.”
On former SAD MLA Pargat Singh’s joining Congress, Sukhbir said he had scored a self-goal. Pargat was earlier SAD MLA from Jalandhar Cantt. “Earlier, Sidhu & company were inviting parties to take them in, but later they started pleading the parties with folded hands. I wish Congress good luck for taking in Mrs Navjot Kaur Sidhu (former BJP MLA from Amritsar West), who was finding it difficult to get her space in any party,” he said.
The Deputy CM justified denial of party tickets to SAD leaders Sarwan Singh Phillaur and Avinash Chander. “They failed to perform as MLAs, that is why they were denied tickets”.
Asked about the candidature of AAP’s Bhagwant Mann from the Jalalabad Assembly segment, Sukhbir’s own constituency, he said, “I don’t even need to campaign in my constituency. I will visit there only for a day or two during the election campaign.”
“Bhagwant Mann does not even know the names of villages in the Jalalabad constituency. He will lose his security deposit from there,” he said.
On the SYL issue, Sukhbir said the chapter was closed for ever as the Punjab government had already de-notified the land acquired.