CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday ruled out the need for an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the state, but said the decision on a coalition with the party would be taken by the Congress high command.
After meeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi to discuss a host of state government and party related issues, particularly in view of the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Amarinder said,"AAP was totally non-existent in Punjab, and there was absolutely no need for the Congress in the state to go in for
alliance with the Arvind Kejriwal’s party."
He added that the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) had conveyed these views to the high command earlier though the matter was not discussed at his meeting today with Rahul.
AAP had become defunct, with no identity now in Punjab, as against the situation prevailing in the last Lok Sabha elections, he asserted. However, any decision on a coalition with AAP or any other party would be taken by the Congress high command, keeping in mind the national perspective and electoral compulsions, and would be followed by PPCC, he said.
Exuding confidence that the Congress would win all the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, Amarinder said the best and most winning candidates would be chosen by the party. However, there had been no discussion yet on the selection of the candidates, he said.
But it is learnt that the issue that Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu might be elevated and made Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab and also the report card of his cabinet colleagues besides change of portfolios of ministers and the names for appointments of chairmen in boards and corporations were reportedly discussed in the meeting.
Replying to a question on a possible reshuffle in his cabinet, he said the issue of any change in portfolios of the ministers was not discussed during the meeting with Rahul.
On the issue of the Kartarpur Corridor, Amarinder said while Pakistan had already started work on the construction of the road on their side, development work had yet to start in the Indian Punjab, as the state government had not received any funds so far from the Centre for acquiring land for building the infrastructure.
He trashed the allegations levelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the farmers' loan waiver scheme as "completely incorrect". His said government had already waived off crop loans worth Rs 3,417 crores of 4,14,275 farmers in just one year. His government was committed to covering all the 10.25 lakh small and marginal farmers targeted in the farm loan waiver scheme announced by it, with others also to be covered in subsequent phases, as the fiscal situation of the state improves further, he added. He said loans of the remaining about 3 lakh of the 10.25 lakh farmers would be waived off shortly.
Modi believed in misleading and deceiving people with his trumped up allegations and fabrications, but the voters of the country would not be taken in again by his `jumlebaazi’, declared the Chief Minister.
Besides Amarinder, Punjab affairs in-charge Asha Kumari and PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar took part in the meeting.