January 29, 2017 2:47:50 am
TRYING to establish a connect with voters in Punjab’s Jalalabad constituency on Saturday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi referred to mother Sonia Gandhi’s Italian origins, and linked her giving up the prime minister’s post in 2004 to Italians voting in a Sikh mayor. Addressing a rally in Jalalabad, which is represented by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Rahul said, “Meri maan Italy se hain. Isi tarah bahut se Punjabi Italy mein rehte hain. 2004 mein Soniaji ne pradhan mantri ka pad chod diya tha. Iske baad, Italy mein ek Punjabi Sikh ne mayor ka election lada aur kaha sare Hindustan ne Soniaji ko support kiya hai, aap mujhe kijiye. Aur voh vahan ke mayor ban gaye, bahut vahan achcha kam kar rahen hain (My mother is from Italy. The same way, many Punjabis live in Italy. In 2004, she left the post of PM. After this, one Punjabi Sikh contested a mayoral election in Italy and told voters that the whole of India had supported Soniaji, you should support me. And he became the mayor, he is doing very good work there).”
Rahul called Sukhbir “number 1 in corruption in the country”, and said Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who is leading the AAP charge in Punjab, was the “number 1 dictator”. He questioned why Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who claims to be fighting against corruption, was standing with Sukhbir. Rahul claimed the AAP was looking at Punjab as Delhi was slipping out of its hands and it was set to lose in the coming civic elections there. “The AAP is selling the Delhi model in Punjab through their words, videos. But I want to tell you all that this model is only in advertisements and marketing. Arvind Kejriwal knows there can’t be a revival in Delhi, so now he wants to become Punjab’s CM.”
With the Rai Sikhs, a Scheduled Caste community, having a large presence in the area, especially Jalalabad, Rahul added, “The Congress is a party of the poor, the labourers, the weak.” Having declared Captain Amarinder Singh as the Congress CM candidate on Friday, Rahul again showered praises on him on Saturday. “Captain Amarinder will be a CM of Punjab’s workers, he will be a CM of the masses. You need to choose a man who has the ability to tell you the truth and has a strong heart. Amarinder is a man who has the will to rebuild Punjab.” Rahul said, “The Congress will not make false promises of changing Punjab in few days, the skyline of the state will change in two years if you all work hard with your CM (Amarinder Singh).
Punjab can be rebuilt, the drugs problem can be put to an end, you all can get good prices for basmati if you bring the Congress to power.” In his speech, Amarinder said the crowd at the rally showed the Congress would sweep the polls. “Vade nu te main Lambi vich sut kar raahnga Chhote nu Bittu sut kar dawega (I will throw Senior Badal out in Lambi. The junior will be thrown out by Bittu),” he said. The Congress Jalalabad candidate is Ravinder Bittu. He urged people to “tell your children not to fall into the trap of topiwallas (referring to the AAP)”. Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Amritsar East candidate, described Amarinder as the chief of the party and said the Akali Dal would become “khali dal (empty front)” after the polls.
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