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Congress's Sidhu alleges 'mafia raj' in Punjab stronger under AAP 'patronage', dares CM Mann to debate

The AAP stormed to power in Punjab in 2022, winning 92 of the 117 seats in the Assembly elections
Last Updated 08 April 2023, 15:36 IST

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday alleged that the "mafia raj" in Punjab has grown stronger under the "patronage" of the AAP, which had promised to demolish it before coming to power.

Sidhu also attacked the ruling dispensation over its failure to implement its pre-poll promises and dared Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to a debate with him regarding the state government's performance.

The cricketer-turned politician, who was released from jail last week after serving nearly 10 months in a 1988 road rage case, was in Jalandhar where to meet the family of Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary, who died in January.

The Congress has fielded Chaudhary's wife Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary as its candidate for the byopll from the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat, scheduled to be held on May 10.

Speaking to reporters in Jalandhar, Sidhu called the AAP "poachers" after it announced former Congress MLA Sushil Rinku as its bypoll nominee.

Rinku joined the AAP on Wednesday in the presence of Mann and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Sidhu alleged that the AAP had earlier tried to poach former Congress MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee as well.

Apparently referring to Rinku joining the AAP, Sidhu said, "The circumstances in which they poached, I call them (AAP) poachers."

Sidhu said the AAP came to power by selling dreams and making "hollow" promises.

"I want to ask you that you had promised to end the 'mafia raj' from Punjab. Today, the mafia raj has become stronger and the AAP is the kingpin behind it. Today, the mafia is being run by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)," he added.

In a tweet later, Sidhu alleged, "The Mafia that has weakened Punjab over decades is now stronger, more protected, under the patronage of AAP Those who promised to demolish it have become it's godfathers!

"No revenue model only borrowings and taxes driving us towards bankruptcy and government in a pitiable situation."

The AAP stormed to power in Punjab in 2022, winning 92 of the 117 seats in the Assembly elections.

Earlier, he told reporters that the AAP had promised one lakh government jobs in a year and Rs 1,000 per month to women before coming to power.

He also pointed to Kejriwal, in the run-up to last year's assembly polls, claiming that the state would generate revenues of Rs 50,000 crore.

"Kejriwal sa'ab, where is the Rs 50,000 crore? You had promised Rs 20,000 crore from sand mining," the former Punjab Congress chief asked.

"What have you (AAP government) done so far except dramas?," he said.

Sidhu also claimed that a sand trolley that was earlier available for Rs 3,700 now costs Rs 12,000.

The former MP asked how much money the AAP government has borrowed since it assumed power.

"Did you tell people that you will be raising Rs 25,000 crore and give free electricity to the people?" he said.

Sidhu said in response to a question that he is a worker of the Indian National Congress and does not need any position.

“I became a four-time MP and also an MLA. I do not need anything. I do not need any position. I am a worker,” he said.

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(Published 08 April 2023, 15:36 IST)

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