CHANDIGARH: On a day when nominations for the May 19 Lok Sabha elections on 13 seats in Punjab begins, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that he is confident about delivering on his 'Mission 13' promise of winning all seats in the state.
"In Punjab, we are well on track to accomplish our 'Mission-13'. I have promised Congress President Rahul Gandhi that we'll give him all the 13 seats in the state and I am more than confident of delivering on that promise," Amarinder told IANS in an interview here.
"Our development work in Punjab speaks for itself and people will vote for that, just as they did in the 2017 Assembly polls and in every small and big election in the state after that," Amarinder, who is yet to get into full scale campaigning, said.
With the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) finding itself cornered on issues like sacrilege cases of the Guru Granth Sahib in 2015 during its regime and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in disarray due to exodus of leaders and cadres, the ruling Congress is upbeat about the Lok Sabha polls.
"We had nearly 180 applicants for 13 seats. That shows where we stand. Other parties are finding it hard to find suitable candidates," Amarinder, who is in his second term as Chief Minister, said.
Unable to find any strong contender with its ranks in Punjab, SAD's alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced Union Minister Hardeep Puri to be its candidate for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.
"Both SAD and AAP are split down the centre. They have no concrete agenda, no issues and nothing to offer to people in Punjab. The people rejected these parties two years ago, and both have gone further downhill," he said.
Amarinder, who turned 75 last month, led the party to a thumping majority - winning 77 seats (now it is 78) in the 117-member Assembly, in the February 2017 assembly polls. Subsequently, the Congress won the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat and Shahkot Assembly seat by-polls comfortably.
"The Congress is all set for a clean sweep not just in Punjab but in the whole of India.AAt the national level, the Congress is all set to throw the BJP-led NDA out of power, under the leadership of Rahul, with Priyanka also now by his side," Amarinder, who is the first Congress leader to have reversed the call of the BJP leadership of a 'Congress Mukt Bharat' by winning Punjab Assembly polls with a majority, said.
"The writing is on the wall for the BJP. They have let the people of this country down so badly that there is complete disillusionment against them. The people gave Narendra Modi and his government five years to prove their sincerity.
"Far from fulfilling even a single promise, the BJP-led government has brought the nation to the brink of devastation on all fronts. The Congress victory in the recent Assembly elections clearly shows which way the wind is blowing.
He said that "any political party that writes off the Congress would do that at its own peril" and that the party, under Rahul Gandhi "is fully geared to win resoundingly".
"After what happened in the recent elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, there is a palpable change in the mood of the people across the country."