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BJP wags finger over Badal raids

Chandigarh, July 13: BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu today threatened Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh with “serious consequences” for his politics of revenge after a state vigilance team raided a resort owned by Parkash Singh Badal’s son Sukhbir in Gurgaon earlier in the day.

“Amarinder Singh is talking about the law in Badal’s case. It is nothing but revenge. The Centre and (the) party are closely observing developments in Punjab. The politics of revenge will not be allowed to continue for long,” Naidu warned. He was here to inaugurate the party’s new state office.

Addressing thousands of party workers, Naidu charged the Congress chief minister with following the politics of “badla (revenge), badli (transfers) and Badal” since taking over in February last year.

Amarinder has charged the Shiromani Akali Dal president with amassing wealth to the tune of Rs 3,500 crore during his tenure as chief minister and has been threatening to arrest him. “Badal has looted Punjab and will have to account for every single paisa he has made,” Amarinder has said. But criticism within the Congress over the slew of raids on Badal’s houses and properties has made him change tack. He now says the court will decide Badal’s fate.

“The Congress in Punjab is resorting to harassing, humiliating and intimidating the Opposition. Such a thing has never happened before in the country and will not be permitted,” Naidu said.

Referring to Amarinder’s assertion that the law will take its course in the case of Badal, his family members and former ministers facing trial in corruption cases, Naidu said the law would also take its course in the case of Amarinder, suggesting that he would have to pay for the misuse of authority. “Dictatorial rule will not be tolerated,” he said.

A senior state BJP leader claimed that the Centre would not hesitate to clamp President’s rule in Punjab if Amarinder continued to harass Akali and BJP leaders. “The Centre is looking into Badal’s allegation of repayment of loans worth crores Amarinder’s firms had taken from banks after he became chief minister,” he said.

Amarinder’s record in the last one-and-a-half years has been dismal, so much so, that he could not even accomplish his one-point agenda of jailing his predecessor, Naidu said.

The Congress was losing popularity in Punjab for not honouring its electoral promises. “Amarinder promised to continue giving free power to farmers in Punjab but after elections he withdrew it. The party is making a similar promise in Andhra Pradesh. The people will give them a befitting reply,” he added.

Hinting at the foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi, Naidu said the people were intelligent enough to see that there was no leader as capable as Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “Vajpayee has character and experience. He is the son of the soil and not someone who has been forced upon us. Can anyone match him in anything'” he asked.

Hinting at early general elections, the BJP chief asked party workers to be ready.

“The polls are nearing and can be held soon. I want workers to fan out to the countryside with the BJP’s message of security and development. Tell them that we are with the Akalis, our oldest ally,” he said.

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