Jalalabad: Continuing his frontal attack on Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s family, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal was an “icon of corruption”.
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“Sukhbir Badal is an icon of corruption. The biggest corruption in any state of the country is occurring in Punjab,” Rahul said at a rally in support of Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu.
Bittu, a Congress MP from Ludhiana, is pitted against Sukhbir Badal from Jalalabad assembly seat for the February 4 assembly elections.
Questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claims of fighting corruption, Rahul said: “Modi should explain why is he supporting Sukhbir if he is fighting corruption?”
Rahul said Sukhbir Badal, who is also President of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which has an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state since 2007, and the SAD had deviated from the ideology of Sikhism’s founder, Guru Nanak Dev.
“Sukhbir Badal claims he is protecting the Sikh religion and ideology of Guru Nanak Dev. But Sukhbir and the Akali Dal say everything is theirs,” the Congress leader said.
He said the Badal family had monopolised all businesses in the state, including transport, cable TV and mining etc., and were getting commission from liquor trade.
“The Badals have finished all industry in Punjab. They don’t allow people from other countries and states to invest and start industry here. Industry has moved to other states and Punjab youths are rendered jobless,” Rahul said.
He said the youths were being denied government jobs by the Badal government.
The Congress Vice-President cautioned people against supporting the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of Arvind Kejriwal.
“Punjab needs a Chief Minister from Punjab. (Arvind) Kejriwal runs Delhi like a dictator,” he said.
He reiterated that Congress Punjab unit chief Amarinder Singh would again be the Chief Minister if the party returns to power in Punjab.
On Friday too, Rahul Gandhi had slammed Modi as well the Akali Dal on the corruption issue.
“Modi talks of corruption and religion at various places. But how can he stand with the corrupt Akali Dal leaders and talk of fighting corruption?” Gandhi had said at an election rally in Akali stronghold Majitha in Amritsar district.
Majitha is represented in the assembly by Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who is a brother-in-law of Sukhbir Badal and brother of Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur.
The 117-member assembly will go to polls on February 4. The counting of votes will be held on March 11.
The main contest is between the ruling SAD-BJP alliance, the Congress and the AAP.