Chandigarh, Feb 17 (PTI) Buoyed by the Congress' victory in the civic polls in Punjab, the party's state unit chief Sunil Jakhar on Wednesday said people had rejected the opposition's “negative politics” and backed the ruling outfit's development agenda, as he rooted for a second term for Chief Minister Amarinder Singh following the assembly elections next year.
Shortly after the results were announced and it was clear that the Congress had put up a good show in the civic polls, Jakhar made the announcement of “Captain for 2022”.
“I would like to launch a campaign 'Captain for 2022'. Only he can steer the ship of the state through these turbulent times when Punjab is being discriminated against by the BJP-led Centre,” Jakhar told reporters here.
With the ruling Congress winning six municipal corporations and emerging as the leading party in another even as the result for Mohali was yet to be announced, Jakhar said people had rejected the “negative politics” of the opposition BJP, SAD and AAP.
“People have given their fatwa and reposed their faith in the leadership of Amarinder Singh. The message is loud and clear. The credit of this victory goes to the people of Punjab and the able leadership of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh,' he said.
Jakhar then expressed his support for Amarinder Singh as the party's chief ministerial candidate for the next assembly elections. Punjab goes to the polls in early 2022.
'People have rejected negative politics and voted for our development agenda,” he told reporters here.
“Be it traders, small traders or youth, they kept one thing in mind that the future of Punjab lies safe in Congress' hands. People know that Congress party can further take the state on the path of growth and development by ensuring an atmosphere of peace, harmony and brotherhood,” Jakhar said.
Notably, the outcome of the elections held against the backdrop of the farmers' agitation against the BJP-led government at the Centre has come as a boost for the Congress, which is also eyeing to win the assembly elections due early next year.
The Punjab Congress chief alleged that the BJP, which was facing backlash in the wake of the ongoing farmers' protests, made attempts to “divide” Punjab on urban-rural lines but people rejected their “agenda”.
“People who have seen Punjab's dark days of terrorism saw through their agenda and rejected it,” he said.
“Through municipal election results, the BJP's central leadership should get a clear message. They tried arm twisting tactics, they tried to defame Punjab and Punjabis especially those supporting farmers. But people of Punjab know how to claim their right through democratic means and they have given their message.' Jakhar further said the BJP at the Centre tried to create divide in name of religion, caste, urban and rural divide. 'I want to thank urban voters for showing solidarity and rejecting the BJP's agenda. BJP's agenda was to create a divide on rural and urban lines. People saw through BJP's game plan of divide and rule,” he said.
He also said if BJP high command ignores this 'strong message', it would be 'at their own peril and own cost”.
The Congress leader also alleged that for the BJP, farmers are only a vote bank.
“They never saw Punjab as Punjab, but only as a vote bank,” he said.
Replying to a question, Jakhar said, “Our principal opposition is negative thinking, the main character of that is BJP”.
Speaking about the AAP, Jakhar claimed the party was active only on social media and it did not have real connect on the ground.
“People also saw that during this election campaign, SAD, AAP and BJP did not speak even once on development issues. Their sole target was Amarinder Singh and Congress. SAD and AAP also did not touch the issue of steep price rise including that of petrol and diesel,” he said.
“The parties which were saying the civic polls are going to be semi-final for 2022 have suddenly changed their tone. The fact remains that this is the launching pad (for Congress before 2022 polls), which brings enormous responsibility on shoulders of Congress party,” he said.
Jakhar claimed that BJP and SAD were 'two sides of the same coin' despite the Akalis having parted ways with the saffron outfit.
The Congress leader also said “it has been totally fair and transparent election”.
Meanwhile, the ruling Congress has won many of the 109 Municiapal councils and Nagar Panchayats, said officials, adding details would be known later. PTI SUN CHS RDM RDM