Punjab Election 2017: Badals have 'looted' the state, will be held accountable, says Arvind Kejriwal

Chandigarh: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday upped the ante against the ruling Badals, alleging they have "looted" Punjab and will be held accountable for their "misdeeds" if AAP forms the government. He also reiterated his charge that Congress was colluding with the Akalis to keep AAP at bay.

On the river water issue, Kejriwal at a press conference here said if AAP government is formed, it will strongly defend the rights of Punjab. He, however, described the SYL canal issue as a "political issue" and said it needs to be dealt accordingly.

Hitting out at the ruling Akalis for "destroying Punjab", the AAP national convener said, "for the first time, they are facing a outfit which is giving them a tough fight". He said that AAP wants Badals to bite dust at the electoral hustings so that they can't enter the Vidhan Sabha even as the opposition MLAs.

 Punjab Election 2017: Badals have looted the state, will be held accountable, says Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. File photo. PTI

"Against the Badals and (Badal family relative and Cabinet Minister Bikram Singh) Majithia, we have pitted our top leadership in the polls. It is not only important to put them behind bars for their misdeeds, but also to ensure their unholy feet don't touch the Vidhan Sabha (as MLAs)," he said.

He said AAP has pitted party's Delhi legislator Jarnail Singh against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi constituency, AAP's Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann from Jalalabad to take on SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and party's senior leader from Punjab, Himmat Singh Shergill will take on Bikram Singh Majithia from Majitha assembly segment.

The Delhi chief minister alleged that a deal had been struck between Amarinder and Badal under a "tacit understanding". "Jarnail held an impressive roadshow and he is getting overwhelming support. Seeing the response, CM Badal approached Capt Amarinder Singh saying we took back cases against you, now you help us. Capt decided to fight from Lambi to divide the anti-Badal vote, which otherwise was going to Jarnail Singh," Kejriwal claimed.

"To justify his fight, Capt is saying he wants to fight injustice of the Badals, but why has he announced to fight from Lambi just 10 days before the polls. In entire Punjab, this poll is predominantly about who is going to defeat the Badals and entire Akali leadership. Now, Capt has joined hands with the Badals and he has betrayed the people and people will never forgive him for this," he said.

Kejriwal said Bikram Singh Majithia will be send behind the bars for his alleged role in a multi-million rupee drug racket in the state.

"Majithia and his entire gang has pushed Punjab into drugs. People are scared of them... When AAP government is formed, we will punish them. I want to say that on 11 March results will be declared and government will be in place by 22 March. And on 15 April, we will send Majithia behind the bars. People of Punjab will get freedom not just from drug menace, but they will be free from reign of terror and
goondaism," he said.

Kejriwal wondered why Majithia was not being arrested and interrogated in the drug case. "We will also set up a SIT, which will probe the loot by the ruling Badals and everything will be recovered with interest. They will be send behind the bars and everything including Amarinder's 'Swiss bank' accounts will be brought under the ambit of the SIT," he said.

To a question, he said when AAP had first formed the government in Delhi, it had strongly gone after where alleged misdeeds had been done by the erstwhile Congress government. "In Delhi, our 49 day government was formed and we registered three FIRs in connection with CWG scam and other cases. Later, for one year, there was President rule in Delhi. Modi government put the cases in the backburner. Then when we
returned to power, we reopened the whole thing. On 8 June, 2015, ...our anti-corruption branch was taken control of and whole thing is now under Prime Minister Modi ji," he claimed.

Kejriwal was also asked questions on the water issue, with opponents accusing that the AAP and Kejriwal do not have a clear stand on the issue.

In response, Kejriwal said the river water agreements were made by the erstwhile Congress governments and later on the SAD politicised the issue for their vested interest. "People of Punjab are wise. What AAP says it means and what we are saying is that we will not allow Punjab's rights to be compromised. We will have to fight on many levels, legally, administrative grounds and inside Vidhan Sabha and other levels," he said.

To a related question, Kejriwal said, "SYL is not a technical issue, but a political issue. Today, BJP rules at the Centre, in Punjab and in Haryana and if Modi ji wants he can make all the three governments come at one table and find a solution to this issue within five minutes. But he (Modi) says one thing in Haryana, something else in Centre and another thing in Punjab, how can this issue be solved then".

"Earlier, Congress was also in power at the Centre, in Haryana and in Punjab, they did the same thing as nobody wants to find a solution to this issue. As far as AAP is concerned, I want to categorically state that we will strongly protect the rights of Punjab on water issue."

Asked what he has to say about the rights of Haryana on water issue, he said, "this is a political issue, which has to be dealt at political level."
To a question suspended AAP MP Dharamvira Gandhi floating his own front, Kejriwal said that at this juncture "when history is in the making and AAP is set to form the government with 100 plus seats in Punjab, I appeal to him not to do any such thing which will help the the Akalis or the Congress".

On Navjot Singh Sidhu's joining Congress, Kejriwal said "it will have no impact".

Meanwhile, Kejriwal on Tuesday again asked voters in Punjab to take the money "offered" by political parties but "fool" them by voting only for the Aam Aadmi Party, barely days after the Goa poll chief took cognisance of a a similar remark and sent a report to the Election Commission.

"Take money from Akali Dal, from BJP and from Congress and if they don't come take it from their offices, take money from the three parties, but vote for AAP. The trouble these parties have with this statement is that they are saying that Kejriwal should have said that vote for only those who gives money. What I have said is not bribery. I had said same thing in Delhi elections...," he said.


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Updated Date: Jan 17, 2017 15:38:18 IST