M A I N   N E W S

Put a stop to SAD-BJP rule in Punjab: Rahul
Says Gujarat Govt gave rough deal to Sikh farmers
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service


  • I understood Manpreet Badal in just 30 seconds when he met me first. But, the Akalis failed to understand him all these years. He is not just tall, but has a large heart, too
  • While Punjabis protect the borders, who was protecting the youth of the state from drugs?

Bathinda, April 28
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Congress-PPP-CPI joint candidate from Bathinda Manpreet Badal stormed this Akali bastion and held an impressive rally at the Thermal Colony grounds here today.

Taking a dig at Narendera Modi, Rahul Gandhi said unlike a certain “Modi sahib”, he preferred to maintain grace and propriety and avoided hate speeches.

Playing the Sikh card, he said Manmohan Singh, a Sikh, headed the UPA government twice. He referred to the snoopgate scandal involving Narendra Modi where he allegedly asked policemen to tap the phones of a woman in Gujarat. Without taking any names, he took on Akalis for their failure to check drug and sand mafia in the state.

He spoke nothing about the video showing alleged corruption by his brother-in-law Robert Vadra. He also did not refer to terrorism, 1984 anti-Sikh riots or the sacrifices made by his family.

Armed with facts and figures, he tried to expose the so-called “Gujarat Shining” model. He also took on the Akalis for their alleged failure to check drug menace, corruption and operations of the sand mafia. Three days after Narendra Modi talked of his “five-F” formula (farm, fibre, fabric, fashion and foreign) for all-round prosperity based on cotton cultivation, production and ready-made clothes manufacturing and export, Rahul Gandhi promised “growth with love for all” through his “Made in Bathinda” dream. He said he wanted to see people demanding “Made in Bathinda” products rather than “Made in China” in future. The Akalis had failed to check the inflow of drugs into the state, he alleged. Vote the Congress to power to “see how the drug inflow can be stopped. End their misrule. Put a full stop to it”, he said.

He said the Akalis made fun of him a few years ago when he said that around seven out of 10 youths in Punjab were hooked on to drugs. “Now, the whole world is saying that. Even the BJP posters are saying they would end drug menace. The Akalis take the excuse that drugs are coming from Pakistan. I say Pakistan will try to do whatever it can, but what are you doing?” he said.

“Modi Sahib promises to bring development, but he has ousted thousands of Sikh farmers from Gujarat. A delegation of Sikh farmers came to me. Some of them were crying as the officials of the Modi government had termed them ‘outsiders’. They asked me if Sikh were outsiders?” he said.

He said he was shocked to see them in tears as he had never seen any Sikh crying. “Sikhs are lions. How can they cry? I told them they were not less than any other citizen in the country. Look at the Congress in whose tenure a Sikh is the Prime Minister, not for one but two tenures,” he said.

Rahul was accompanied by Shakeel Ahmed, Congress in charge of Punjab affairs and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Manpreet Badal adopted an aggressive stance in his speech that was peppered with his trademark couplets, wit and metaphors. He asked people to hit the snake of corruption, nepotism, drugs and misuse of official machinery on the head.





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