Nearly three years after being rejected by voters in Amritsar, BJP leader and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday returned to the Sikh Holy city to seek votes for BJP and Akali candidates in Punjab.
Jaitley claimed that the Akali and BJP government had brought “unprecedented” development in the state and accused Congress of allowing “terrorism” to rise, because of which the state had to “suffer for several years”.
“Terrorism (in Punjab) raised its head during the 80s and only Congress is responsible for it. People suffered for 10 to 12 years and many were killed. In 1984, Congress fought elections on communalism plank. It made the people of Punjab fight against each other,” he was quoted by PTI.
“Normalcy returned only after the formation of Akali-BJP government under the leadership of Parkash Singh Badal, he claimed, adding, “The state saw unprecedented development under the rule of this alliance.”
On cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, Jaitley said, “We had asked Sidhu not to leave BJP but he did not listen to us and joined Congress, which was already in neck deep corruption.”
Urging people to vote for the SAD-BJP alliance, Jaitley claimed, “If the SAD-BJP alliance is voted to power, it shall bring a sea change as far as development is concerned.”
Earlier there was only one airport in Punjab, but it lacked ultra-modern infrastructure. But when BJP arrived at the Centre and in Punjab, more airports were built in the state, he calimed.
Hitting out at Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh, the senior BJP leader accused him of “misusing” his position when he was the Chief Minister and “indulging in corruption”.
“That is why he was able to open accounts in Swiss Banks.
This information came to India not during the NDA rule but during the UPA rule in 2011.
“He is the only person who has various cases registered against him. He can never be trusted to lead the state again,” Jaitley alleged at a poll rally in Amritsar East seat where Sidhu has been fielded by Congress.
“We have fielded a strong candidate from Amritsar East Assembly constituency against Sidhu. Our candidate Rajesh Honey will remain available around the clock for the people,” he said.
Jaitley also addressed a series of election rallies in favour of BJP candidates, Rajindermohan Singh Chinna the party candidate for bypoll in Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency.
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “By conducting surgical strikes across the LoC, Modi did what the previous governments had failed to do.”
Caliming that people in Delhi are “already fed up with AAP” as it “failed” to live up their expectations, Jaitley said, “We should not expect any miracle from AAP in Punjab.”
Punjab goes to polls on 4 February with the ruling Akali and BJP facing huge anti-incumbency wave against them. It will be interesting to see if the voters who had rejected Jaitley in 2014 despite there being a wave for Narendra Modi will give credence to his appeal for votes now.