New Delhi, Jan 25, 2022 – Former Punjab Chief Minister and Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) founder Amarinder Singh is an exhausted and spent cartridge, incumbent Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi told IANS in an exclusive interview, in which he also talked about the infighting within the Congress in the poll-bound state.
Here are some excerpts from the interview.
Q. How much will Amarinder Singh’s claims about Navjot Sidhu hurt the Congress?
A. Amarinder Singh is a defused bomb. He has stabbed people in his own party, as well as farmers and the people of Punjab in the back. No one is taking him seriously now.”
Q. Are Amarinder Singh’s statements weakening the Congress?
A. It is his democratic right and everyone can express his/her views. The Congress is united in Punjab and it is fighting the elections under a collective leadership.
Q. Is the Congress fighting the elections against the opposition or the leaders from within the party?
A. There may be disagreements among the leaders, but the Congress is united in Punjab.
Q. Will the ruling Congress suffer due to the incidents of sacrilege just before the elections?
A. No harm will be done. Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is facing criticism over the sacrilege incident (of 2015), even asked people to forget about it. Everyone knows who were behind the dastardly acts, and Amarinder Singh as the Chief Minister formed an alliance with Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP and gave them shelter. After I became the Chief Minister, I formed an SIT to probe the sacrilege incident. People will get justice.
Q Is this election Channi vs Bhagwant Mann?
A. No, I don’t see anyone as our opponent, we compete with ourselves. I represent the common man, middle class and every Punjabi. Secondly, the people of Punjab are not taking Bhagwant Mann seriously, that is why the Aam Aadmi Party chief delayed in declaring him as the CM face of his party, as Arvind Kejriwal could not convince anyone because Punjabis don’t like him.
Q. Will people give chance to Kejriwal this time?
A. The Aam Aadmi Party is a party of thugs. They will not be able to fool the people of Punjab with their agenda.
Q. How many seats will the Congress get in Punjab?
A. I don’t believe in numbers game. People will decide and everyone will come to know after the counting of votes (on March 10). But yes, people liked my four months of work and I am sure the Congress will win with a thumping majority. We will form the government again.
Q. Who will be the Chief Minister if your party wins?
A. It is the prerogative of the party leadership to decide. Whatever deisions are taken, I will support them.
Q. If Sidhu insists on being the CM, will you agree?
A. If somebody wants to be the Chief Minister, it is not wrong. I am a staunch Congressman and will support the decision of the party high command.
Q. Why is there so much confusion about Sidhu’s manifesto and Congress manifesto?
A. All Congress workers are working for the welfare of Punjabis and betterment of Punjab.
Q. Whose manifesto will Congress take to the public?
A. This is the prerogative of the party and the high command will release the manifesto soon.
Q. Do you think Kejriwal will be able to woo the people of Punjab with his freebies?
A. The people of Delhi are already fed up with Kejriwal’s dubious claims, and now he is trying to fool Punjabis with freebies. But he will not succeed. Punjabis will teach him a lesson. (Agency)