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CM candidate will be from Punjab only, says Kejriwal

Press Trust of India  |  Patiala 

Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal today said the party's chief ministerial candidate in Punjab will be from the state itself, scotching speculation that he was himself in the race.

"The chief minister of Punjab will be from the state itself," he said while addressing a public rally at Badshapur in this district a day after Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told people in Mohali that they should vote assuming that it is to make Kejriwal the CM.

Sisodia's remarks were latched on to by SAD and Congress which accused AAP of trying to foist an "outsider" on Punjab. However, Kejriwal today said he will remain the chief minister of Delhi and he holds huge responsibility.

In the same breath he said, "Whosoever will be the Punjab chief minister, it will be my personal responsibility that all promises made by AAP are fulfilled."

He said people of Punjab can make him "personally accountable" for all the works.

Punjab is going to polls on February 4.

Hitting out at Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Kejriwal claimed that the Shiromani Akali Dal president woke up thrice from his sleep last night after having nightmares of him (Kejriwal) being the next chief minister of the state.

Referring to allegations against a chit fund company, he said AAP will mortage the properties of owners and get people's money refunded.

Yesterday, Kejriwal was virtually declared the chief ministerial candidate in Punjab by his Aam Aadmi Party, injecting a new dimension to what is considered a three-way race in the Assembly polls.

"You vote thinking that you are voting to make Arvind Kejriwal as the chief minister (of Punjab). Your vote is for Kejriwal," Sisodia had said.

AAP, which first captured power in Delhi in 2013 on the back of its civil society campaign against corruption, has been steadily making inroads in Punjab. It had won four Lok Sabha seats in 2014 but there has been infighting in the party.

Sisodia assured the people that Kejriwal would honour all the promises after coming to power.

"People were asking me who will be the Punjab Chief Minister. I want to say one thing here that you should believe that Arvind Kejriwal is going to be Punjab's CM," he had said.

He also said, "Whosoever will be the CM, it shall be the responsibility of Kejriwal to get all the promises honoured...I give you guarantee in this regard."

Kejriwal claimed that Congress' election manifesto was a "lie" and Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh has himself said "one has to lie before elections".

(Reopens DEL31)

Kejriwal said AAP has prepared a 150-point charter for Punjab and will fulfil 10-key issues on priority basis, if it forms the government.

Addressing a series of rallies in Badshahpur and Patran in Patiala district, he said, he was overwhelmed by the response of people to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

"No other leader in the history of Punjab has got so much love and affection that I have got", he added.

Exhorting people to vote to save Punjab from corrupt political system controlled alternatively by SAD and Congress, he said that his first priority would be to eradicate drugs and cut the supply of narcotics in the state within a month.

He also announced that he will cancel all fake cases under NDPS Act allegedly filed by the Badal family against the innocent youths who had opposed drug mafia.

Alleging that Revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia had links with international drug mafia, the Delhi Chief Minister claimed that he had also got false case registered against him in Amritsar.

If AAP forms a government then it would create a special task force of senior doctors to de-addict the youth within six months and create 25 lakh jobs to bring back the youth to main stream, he said, adding at present there are about 40 lakh youths addicted to drugs.

Alleging connivance of Badal family in the incidents of sacrilege of holy books, he said bringing the guilty to book would be challenge for him and exemplary punishment would be given.

The other priorities, he said, would be waiving loan of farmers and implementing recommendations of Swaminathan report on crop prices within three years time.

Kejriwal said his focus would be to set up agro industry in the state.

He also announced a raise in old, handicapped and widow pensions from existing Rs 500 to Rs 2500 per month and accused the SAD-BJP government of cheating people in the name of welfare schemes and embezzlement of funds meant for the poor.

Eradicating corruption would be his another priority, he said and claimed that in Delhi AAP has created an atmosphere of corruption-free governance.

He alleged that Badal family had looted Punjab for 10 years and made unaccounted wealth from drugs, illegal mining and transport business.

"We will force them to cough out the money made by looting people of Punjab. We will put them behind bars and take account of every single paise," he said.

Attacking Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh, he alleged, during his tenure as Chief Minister from 2002 to 2007 he had deposited his ill-gotten money in Swiss bank.

"We have the bank account number and will bring back the money," he said.

The AAP chief said education and health system in Punjab had collapsed and private schools and hospitals have mushroomed.

He alleged that Badal government had systematically ruined the primary education and health services in the state.

Promising to set up a dispensary in every village and refurbish the government schools, Kejriwal said, "We have set up Mohalla Clinics in Delhi and modernised the government schools in Delhi and now it is turn of Punjab."

In Delhi, he said, AAP had won record 67 seats out of 70. "I am sure the whole Punjab was waiting for a better record".

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First Published: Wed, January 11 2017. 16:13 IST