Watch: In Punjab, Rahul Gandhi names Amarinder Singh as Congress CM candidate

Ending all speculation of the past few months over who will be the Congress' chief ministerial candidate in the poll-bound Punjab, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi announced on Friday that Captain Amarinder Singh would head the government if the Congress is voted to power. "Amarinder Singh ji Punjab ke mukhyamantri banenge."

Addressing his first political rally in the Akali Dal assembly stronghold of Majitha, near Amritsar, Gandhi said only a Punjabi leader could lead the state.

According to a report in The Economic Times, with just a week to go before the election, clamour within the party circles was increasing to announce Singh as the Punjab Congress' face. However, the party leadership was in the favour of playing safe by not naming any chief ministerial candidate. But it's key opponent in the state, Shiromani Akali Dal-Bhartiya Janata Party led alliance was making an issue out of it. The announcement comes in the backdrop of reports predicting a Congress win, in wake of the anti-incumbency sentiment against the Badals. A News18 report, citing an opinion poll by Axis-My-India, states that if polls were to be held today,  the Congress will emerge as the largest party but will fall short of a majority. Earlier it was speculated, the announcement could be made during the release of party's Punjab manifesto in Delhi, by the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, however, the party chose to keep mum. According to The Indian Express, Singh was reinstated as the Punjab Congress Chief in December 2015, when it was largely speculated that he will be the party's face to play up the anti-incumbency sentiment against the Akalis. He was removed as PPCC president on 5 March, 2012 by the party high command after the Congress Party's debacle in the Moga by-election. The rally in Majitha was the first in the series of campaign rallies planned for the weekend by the Congress. Flanked by Captain and new entrant in party Navjot Singh Siddhu, Rahul launched a full frontal attack on the ruling family in Punjab — the Badals. "Jab bhi kisaan badal dekhta hai, uske dil mein khushi aati hai.Lekin Punjab mein Badal paani nahi dete hain (Farmers are usually happy to see badal (alludes to the ruling Badal family) but in Punjab, Badals don't give rain). I said four years ago that 70 percent youth are affected by drugs. Badals made fun of me. Now whole Punjab is saying what I said. Every industry and business has been overtaken by the family monopoly. If you want to go anywhere in Punjab, you have to go in the bus owned by Badals," Rahul said. "Modi ji will come and speak on corruption. How can Modi ji speak for Akali dal when Akalis are a corrupt party? How can a prime minister who swears by honesty stand by a corrupt party? Guru Nanak Ji ne kaha sab ka sab tera, Akali Dal kehte hain sab ka sab mera." "Punjab, the state of five rivers, has fed the country. If Punjab wants jobs, then you have to pay the Badals. The Badals of Punjab have spread darkness in the state." Rahul questioned Badals on unemployment amd accused them of misgovernance. "Badals didnt give water to Punjab. All industries are leaving Punjab and only one family is behind it. Seventy percent of the youth from Punjab are addicted to drugs. Only Congress can clean drugs from the state.    

Watch the full campaign video here:

Published Date: Jan 27, 2017 15:02 PM | Updated Date: Jan 27, 2017 16:14 PM

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