PATIALA: Punjab Lok Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Wednesday accused the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal of sowing the seeds of caste and religious dissension in the state.
He said this move would backfire on the parties, who are "compromising the peace and security of the border state to further their narrow political interests".
The former chief minister alleged that the parties are attempting to "polarise" harmonious Punjab society.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had started the "divisive" campaign by announcing a Dalit deputy CM if elected to power, triggering a mad race to follow suit, he said in a statement here.
The Congress, which had fallen unthinkingly for the Akali ploy, will pay for its mistake in announcing its CM face on caste lines, he said.
"Have these parties ever thought about the consequences such divisiveness could have on a border state like ours," asked Singh.
None of these parties will be able to reap the benefit of their "separatist" policies, he said.
It will be the NDA alliance that will form the government in the state, he asserted, adding that the PLC-BJP-SAD Sanyukt coalition will consolidate the votes lost by these parties in the coming days.
After a public meeting in Sanjay Colony, Patiala, the PLC chief termed as unfortunate the fact that the Punjab polity was currently revolving around casteist and religious narratives.
He recalled how caste or religion was never an issue during his childhood days but with these parties playing the caste card, Punjab, for the first time, getting divided on such divisive lines.
"In any case, Channi's anointment as chief ministerial candidate by Rahul Gandhi amounted to sheer insult for 'aam aadmi' (the common man), considering the crores of sand mafia money seized from his kin," said the former chief minister.
Promising continuation of development activities he had initiated in Patiala during his chief ministerial tenure, Singh stressed the development of the region and the state are linked to a strong Centre-state alliance, which his party is offering in coalition with the BJP and SAD (Sanyukt).
Addressing another public meeting here, Amarinder said during four-and-a-half-years of his tenure as the chief minister, he had allocated development projects worth Rs 1,800 crore for Patiala.
However, he said the day Charanjit Singh Channi took over as the chief minister, the projects were stopped.
He said there was a long-pending demand of the people of Patiala to shift dairies out of the city as the waste from these chokes drains.
"The project was scrapped by Channi the same evening he took over. The governments should not resort to such vindictiveness," said Amarinder Singh, who was succeeded by Channi in September last year after Singh quit the post following a bitter tussle with state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
He further alleged that the prime minister had planned to announce Rs 43,000 crore worth of development projects at the Ferozepur rally last month, which the Channi-led government "damaged by allowing the security breach".
"The prime minister had personally told me that our alliance will transform Punjab for the better," he said, adding that the NDA can provide a strong government necessary for development and security of the state.
The BJP is fighting the Punjab assembly polls in alliance with former chief minister Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Lok Congress and the Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt).