ZIRAKPUR: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday ruled out a pre-poll alliance with any political party in Punjab and said the contest was between the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal, not the AAP.
He accused the SAD-BJP government of not being serious about eliminating the drug problem, which he said was a serious issue in the State. But he refused to comment on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, saying matter was sub judice.
“The contest is between us (Congress) and Akalis. The AAP is just creating a hype about itself in Punjab,’’ he said.Taking a dig at the SAD-BJP government, he said when he had raised the issue of the drug meance, the State government had made fun of him and said that it was an insult to Punjab and Punjabis and that the problem was being blown out of proportion.
“Nobody can insult Punjab. Punjab is the heart of the country. Punjab gives life to the country. There is a place for Punjab in my heart. I want to help Punjab,” he said. “The drug problem is a very serious issue in Punjab and it has always been a serious one. But the SAD-BJP government has ignored it. When our party forms government , the drug problem will soon be solved.’’
He said that if the Congress formed a government in Punjab after the 2017 Assembly polls, the State would witness rapid development. “The Congress wants to give a new kind of government which would be sensitive to the needs of the people,’’ he said. He also demanded that there should be no delay in the disbursal of payments to wheat growers for their produce.
The Congress vice-president met around 2,500 party leaders, including sitting MLAs, MPs, former MLAs, block presidents, and other party office-bearers.
The meeting was planned by the Congress’ new election strategist, Prashant Kishor, who was hired by State party president and former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh some time back.
After setbacks in the 2007 and 2012 elections, when it was defeated by the SAD-BJP coalition, the Congress is aiming to wrest power in the 2017 polls.