POMONA, CA - With an eye on the forthcoming Punjab assembly elections proposed to be held in March 2017, head of Punjab State Congress Committee and former Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh addressed nearly 2000 Indian- Americans at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center here...
Speaking to the huge and receptive gathering, he said the area of the state of Punjab was 2% of the country but the state contributed 45% of rice and 55% wheat to India’s food basket. But because of the wrong policies and irresponsible attitude of the present Akali-BJP government, this amazing state which was earlier ranked first among all the states of India had moved to the 19th position . He lamented that because of easy availability and the involvement of the ruling parties in illicit drugs, 78% youth of the state had become drug users and addicts. All major businesses like TV channels, transport, tourism, hotels, construction and many more were now owned by the ruling ‘Badal’ family members. Industry was moving out of Punjab because of lack of infrastructure and 9 million youth was jobless. Farmers were paying with their life for the state’s apathy as Punjab had the highest per capita rate of rural suicides in the country. While targeting the Aam Admi Party (AAP), Singh said the risk of electing the AAP into power and experimenting with them could prove detrimental to Punjab.
He assured that if his party gained power, he would stop the auction of agriculture land and ensure the passing of a strong Lokpal Bill to eliminate corruption from a struggling state. He highlighted that issues of NRIs would be addressed at a priority and the government would extend full hearted support of those desirous of investing in Punjab. He also addressed the queries raised by the audience including questions on division of the river waters of Punjab, strengthening the system of elementary education, curbing the drug menace, and uplifting the economic status of the people of Punjab.
Mayor of city of Pomona Elliott Rothman, recognized Singh and presented him with a proclamation on behalf of the city. The event was emceed by Iqbal Samra. Other speakers at the event were members of the L.A. event coordinator team who included Surjit Singh Kaka Loghat, Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon (MLA Faridkot), Gurjit Aujla, district President Congress Committee Amritsar and Rana Sodhi, MLA Guru Har Sahai. Earlier Gagan Sidhu sang a few songs to entertain the gathering.
Outside the venue, nearly 100 volunteers of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) protested against Singh’s visit. While talking to IJ, spokesperson of SFJ, Sukhwinder Singh said the Captain represented the Congress which was responsible for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Another protestor ,Jasbit Singh who claimed to be an eye witness to the riots and who lost 27 members of his family at that time, questioned the Captain’s remarks on Congress leader Jagdish Tytler who had been accused of leading the mob of rioters in 1984.