Amarinder warns Akalis against misuse of power; SAD hits back

Amarinder warns Akalis against misuse of power; SAD hits backPATIALA, Punjab: Congress Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh has warned the Akali government in Punjab against “misusing the official machinery” during the forthcoming by-election to two Assembly seats in the state.

He expressed confidence that government officials could not be pressurized and hoodwinked to do the Akalis’ bidding, that they will perform their duty in “an honest, fair and impartial manner”.

Asked if there was any possibility of misuse of official machinery by Akalis, Singh, who arrived here for filing of the nomination papers of his wife Preneet Kaur from Patiala Urban Assembly segment, asserted that he will personally ensure that nobody is allowed to hoodwink or intimidate the Congress workers and supporters.

Singh said he “has full confidence and faith in officials and police and hoped that they will not come under any pressure from Akalis who are known for intimidating the officials and their opponents”.

“I assure you that I will stand by you as long as you perform your duties in an honest and impartial manner,” he said, adding that “at the same time I want to warn all those who may try to misuse their position as it is matter of two more years after which the Congress will be back in power”.

Singh, who vacated the seat after being elected to Parliament from Amritsar, expressed confidence that the Congress will retain this seat.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal reacted sharply to his comment on alleged misuse of official machinery, and said that instead of finding lame excuses Amarinder should be prepared to have a straight fight with the SAD-BJP alliance on issues.

In a statement, SAD secretary and Punjab Education Minister Daljit Singh Cheema said it was surprising that even before the start of the election campaign the former Chief Minister has started speaking on non-issues.

He said, unlike the Congress, the SAD-BJP alliance has always contested elections on its performance and on development issues in a peaceful and transparent manner, and that the people of state have supported the alliance all these years on these principles.–PTI