Chandigarh, Mar 11 (PTI) After a hiatus of 10 years, Congress led by former chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh stormed to power in Punjab getting 77 seats, falling just one seat short of two-third majority.
It was a birthday present for Amarinder who turned 75 today as the Congress routed the SAD-BJP combine and dashed hopes of Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, which was confident of sweeping the Assembly polls on its debut.
Congress leader Amarinder Singh promised to wipe out the drug menace from the state in four weeks after his party forms a government in the state.
Singh, whoIS LIKELY TO become the chief minister as Congress got absolute majority, also said in the first cabinet meeting 100 key decisions would be taken.
Addressing a crowded press conference here, Singh, who turned 75 today, reiterated his poll promise of tackling drug menace saying it will be among his immediate priorities.
He said every single person found guilty of destroying the lives of tens of thousands of youth would be brought to book.
The use of drugs, by the youths, was a major issue in the Punjab elections.
Singh said he would also get probed the sacrilege incidents that had happened in parts of the state recently.
“A meeting of the Punjab Congress legislature party has been called tomorrow,” Singh, who was the chief minister of the state during 2007-2012, told reporters.
He hit out at the SAD, saying it had brought the “state on its knees”. He also took a swipe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying he was like a “summer storm which came and has gone.”
“The AAP bubble has burst with the outright rejection by the Punjab voters,” he said, adding that the alleged links of AAP with extremist had also worked against the party.
To another question, he said that the support of the Dera (to SAD-BJP) also worked in the favour of the Congress.
Asked if Navjot Singh Sidhu will be made the Deputy Chief Minister, Singh said these decisions will be taken by the Congress vice president as the party chief was abroad.
“We will send our recommendations, but the final decision will be of Rahulji’s,” he said.
Singh also sought cooperation of the Narendra Modi-led central government, saying the people of Punjab want development, jobs, industry, better education and health.
“We hope the Union government will recognise the demands of Punjab and assist us,” he said.
“We remain committed to fulfilling all thatWE HAVE PROMISED in our manifesto,” said Singh, who was flanked by Congress leaders Harish Chaudhry and Asha Kumari.
Asked if Congress wins 75 seats, will it be an icing on the cake since he turns 75 today, he said, “I hope that we get 78 seats because that gives us 2/3rd majority.”
Congress won 77 seats in 117-member Punjab assembly, one short of two-third majority.
Asked how crucial was the Congress’ good performance in Punjab for the party as a whole, Singh said, “I think every state is important for the Congress”.
To a question, if the party’s performance was more because of his own image and efforts, he said “it’s a win of the Congress party. You cannot divorce me from my party”.