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Priyanka Gandhi’s entry is a bit late: Captain Amarinder Singh

The Punjab CM also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking credit for the achievements of the defence forces.

, ET Bureau|
May 11, 2019, 11.00 PM IST
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The Punjab CM also said there was no anti-incumbency against him.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh says he had been telling the Congress leadership for the past one year to bring in Priyanka Gandhi.

While talking to Shantanu Nandan Sharma amid campaign at Banga, 100 km northwest of Chandigarh, he also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking credit for the achievements of the defence forces. Edited excerpts:

You have been chief minister for over two years now. Haven’t you felt a sense of anti-incumbency against you?
There’s no anti-incumbency against me. Our opposition has been trying to create it by asking: what all have you achieved in two years? We have given our report card to the people of Punjab. For instance, debt waiver for 5.8 lakh farmers so far, creation of over 8 lakh jobs, including 40,000 in the government sector, and conversion of 78% of MoUs on investments as against the Akalis’ track record of only 25%. We have progressed a lot, but yes, you can’t fulfil a five-year manifesto in two years.

BJP has successfully crafted a narrative around nationalism after the Pulwama terrorist attack and India’s retaliatory air strikes in Balakot. Will that impact your prospects in Punjab?
The BJP has been trying to project itself as the only one who can flex the muscle. This is rubbish. It is the Indian defence forces who did the job. The prime minister takes a decision in consultation with his cabinet; the chiefs are informed and then the operations are carried out. This is the standard procedure being adopted all the time — in 1947, 1965, 1971.

When Mrs (Indira) Gandhi dismembered Pakistan and created Bangladesh, she never took any credit. Instead, she gave full credit to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw (then chief of army staff ). That is the way it should be. Yes, you have taken a decision (on airstrikes inside Pakistan), but to say someone has taken such a decision for the first time is all wrong. Such operations have taken place earlier as well.

How do you see PM Modi’s jibe at former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as ‘Corrupt No. 1’?
I have known Rajiv from my school days. He was a thorough gentleman. There’s not even 1% truth in what the PM is saying, and that too against someone who is no longer alive to defend himself. It is an attempt by the PM to malign a dead person. This is shameful.

Do you feel the entry of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into active politics should have been made earlier?
I feel Priyanka’s entry is a bit late. She should have been brought in earlier. I was saying it for over a year — bring Priyanka in, but the party made the decision only recently. I feel, she is a great asset to the Congress, and she has already demonstrated that in various parts of the country.


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