LAMBI (PUNJAB): Congress candidate from Lambi assembly constituency against Siromani Aki Dal (SAD) patriach Prakash Singh Badal feels that he did not bring development here despite being chief minister for five times.
He also says that senior Badal is on a “weak wicket” this time and it is reason why he has been forced to campaig even at an age of 94 years.
Congress has fielded Jagpal Singh Abul Khurana, son of former MLA from Lambi Gurnam Singh Abul Khurana, also a former minister, who died last year.
Even Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Gurmeet Singh Khudian, son of the late MP Jagdev Singh Khudian, from the constituency that has been represented by Prakash Singh Badal since 1997.
Speaking to The New Indian, Khurana, he said, “The issues in this election are related to development in Lambi. Prakash Singh Badal was the CM for five terms but unfortunately development has not taken place. As it is a rural assembly constituency, he has not done it (development) in villages.”
He further said that as far as Prakash Singh Badal is concerned and his five-term tenure is concerned from Lambi, people had high hope from him as he was stalwart at that time. “People felt that he will do something. People had high hopes and expectations from Prakash Singh Badal but unfortunately he has not been able to do, or raise the level of people of threarea, there has been no industry and he hasn’t created much infrastructure for employment so these are the issues which will going to be difficult for him,” the Congress leader said.
When asked that Prakash Singh Badal being a 94-year-old candidate campaigning in several villages, Khurana said, “He (Prakash Singh Badal) is on a weak wicket. He was not willing to fight but there were political compulsions of the SAD to make him fight to keep their flock together and to keep their image intact that senior leadership is in place.”
“And especially for Sukhbir Singh Badal who put it across that his father is still with him and along with him,” he added.
When asked about AAP campaigning aggressively in the state and its leaders also touring the state, Khurana said, “For AAP it is a seasonal vacation. They come here during elections after five years and try to make an attempt in which they have failed.”
He said that last time they had won 20 MLA and out of that over 10 to 11 have left them. “Punjab is a vocational holiday for them they don’t have roots here. They try their best to make inroads here but their agenda is not here. They have no ideology, they are here fixing small things and trying to make an impact and gain power here because (Delhi CM Arvind) Kejriwal ultimate dream is to get power and become full fledged chief minister. He dreams of becoming chief minister here will not come true,” the Congress leader said.
To a question about a lot of infighting in Punjab Congress and Captain Amarinder Singh resigning from the party and how he compares current chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi small tenure in the state, he said, “Performance is always considered in the party and taken into account.”
He felt that Captain Amarinder was made Chief Minister and he did his job really well, and then at certain stages people felt that things were not going in expected manner because the COVID-19 pandemic was also going on. “Captain Amarinder Singh due to old age was on the backfoot and taking precautions despite being fit, so the work was slipping and that was the reason why party thought to bring in Channi, who comes from the weaker section. There were many other leaders also but party has given him a chance to be the DM,” he said.
To a question about the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arresting Channi’s nephew Bhupinder Singh ‘Honey’ in illegal mining case ahead assembly elections, he said, “This strategy of the BJP of using central agencies have always been there as they try to bully people around the elections as it might be happening in states going to elections like we have seen in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and now it is Punjab and other states. So they (BJP) arm twist people, that has been their strategy.”
To a question about drug menace in the state, he said that the problem of drugs has been here (in Punjab) for a long time and it could be a strategy from across the border from Pakistan. as a lot of people fall into the trap. “Now I think it is a curse that has happened to Punjab and to get out of this, people of Punjab have to unite to get eradicate this menace. All parties need to unite instead of blaming each other,” he noted.
From Lambi, the home turf of Prakash Singh Badal, he has remained undefeated from 1997 to 2017 assembly polls. In 1992, Khurana’s father had won as SAD boycotted elections that year and Prakash Singh Badal did not contest.
Elections for 117-member assembly is scheduled on February 20 and counting of votes will take place on March 10.