In a scorching attack, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today slammed Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, which he said was more interested in creating controversies than running the government at Bathinda. The BJP leader said under the Modi government the country is firmly moving ahead on the path of development and claimed that the Congress was constantly “shrinking” across the country.
With Amarinder accusing him of “using” the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department to target him and his family and also “challenging” him to prove the allegations, Jaitley hit back, saying the facts on the ground spoke otherwise.
“I recall when there was Congress government in Punjab in 2002 led by Capt Amarinder Singh, he used to cook up stories about the Badal family, claiming they have land in Australia, petrol pump in America, besides levelling other charges. He failed to prove the allegations which he levelled, but we have found accounts of Capt Sahib’s family,” Jaitley said addressing ‘Vikas Parv’ rally here in the Malwa region of Punjab organised to mark the completion of NDA government’s two years in office.
Jaitley hit out at Amarinder, to whom he had lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Amritsar for claiming that his family has been wrongly framed.
“The information about (bank) accounts in Switzerland was given to the Indian government was given for the first time by the French authorities. This information was provided by France in 2011 when UPA was in power whereas Modi ji’s government came to power in 2014.
“Under the Congress government, when current President (Pranab Mukherjee) was the Finance Minister, the information about Capt’s family account came out,” he said.
In a dig at Amarinder, who has often charged Jaitley with trying to settle “political scores” since his defeat in Amritsar, Jaitley said, “We never advised you to open accounts in foreign countries.”
He accused the previous Congress-led UPA government of going slow in the alleged case involving the former Punjab chief minister’s family.
“When they learnt that this information can hurt the Congress, the previous government slowed down on this issue, even though they wrote one or two letters. But we have procured all the documents pertaining to the incomplete file,” he said.
“And why they took your family’s name? They could have said that the accounts are of Akali Dal or BJP people. They didn’t take our names,” said Jaitley.
“Recently, elections took place for 13 municipal seats. They had got 54 per cent votes in Assembly (polls), which dropped to 29 per cent within one year,” he said.
Jaitley accused the AAP of indulging in false propaganda and creating controversies in the national capital, while being “least concerned” about running of the government in Delhi, which he said was easier to administer than Punjab.
He said it is very difficult to run Punjab because it was a border state. They (SAD-BJP) keep struggling about how to build highways, how to improve infrastructure, how to make people’s lives better, he said.
On the other hand, running Delhi City, where central government pumps in a lot of money for development works, is very easy, he claimed.
“If Delhi government does just 5-7 per cent of its job, the administration will run smoothly. But what is their (AAP’s) agenda? It is not to run government, they want to create controversy in one way or the other,” Jaitley alleged.
With Punjab going to polls early next year, Jaitley said the state has to be “saved” from the type of politics practised by the AAP.