Pathankot/ Gurdaspur, October 9Enthused by the massive response to his roadshow on the last day of campaigning for the Gurdaspur by-poll on Monday, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh expressed confidence of winning the by-election with a “historic” margin.“We would win this seat with a margin of over two lakh votes”, he told reporters during an informal chat. Accompanied by the party’s nominee, Sunil Jakhar, AICC General Secretaries Asha Kumari and Harish Chaudhry, and Rajya Sabha MP, Pratap Singh Bajwa, among others, Captain Amarinder said that his government had not only implemented many of its poll promises but had also set the ball rolling for bringing the beleaguered state economy back on track. “Be it enhancement of pensions under social welfare schemes or our promise of providing jobs, every election promise that we made is in the process of implementation”, he said reiterating that the decade long legacy of the previous Akali-BJP regime cannot be wiped out within a short span of 6 months or so. The Chief Minister said that his government was also working on a plan to implement its promise of providing smart phones to youth.On the issue of crop loan waiver to farmers, the chief minister said that Punjab, unlike some other states, had decided to waive off loans up to Rs 2 lakh for farmers with up to 5 acres of land and an outright relief of Rs 2 lakh each to other small and marginal farmers, irrespective of their loan amount. “This will benefit 10.25 lakh of the 13 lakh farming families who borrowed loans”, he said while ridiculing the opposition for attempting to negate the work done by his government. The Chief Minister said that all steps were being taken to provide timely payment to farmers against their paddy crop in the ongoing procurement season. In response to a question, the chief minister said that despite the financial constraints, his government had sanctioned money for projects worth Rs 750 crores in Gurdaspur and Pathankot and work had already started on many. Captain Amarinder Singh also denied any rift in the party over the allotment of ticket to Jakhar and said that Pratap Singh Bajwa had never stayed away from campaigning. “Like me, he too had some commitments in Delhi, which he fulfilled and joined the campaign”, he said.Replying to a question PPCC President and the party nominee for the by-poll, Jhaker said that Langah’s rape case had hurt hard-core Sikh sentiments and demoralised SAD party workers. He said that allegations against Salaria were too of a grave nature but he would not like to comment on them. “We are fighting the elections on a positive agenda. They would have to pay for what they have done”, he said. Amidst shouting of slogans “aa gaya captain; chhaa gaya captain” and “Captain Amarinder Zindabad”, the chief minister said that the stupendous response to his roadshow made it quite evident that Jakhar will win the by-poll with a massive mandate. He said that he was overwhelmed by the love and affection showered on him by the people of Gurdaspur constituency. He said that his previous visits to Gurdaspur and Pathankot on Independence Day and Dusherra respectively had evoked the same response from the people and he was grateful for it. He promised that Jakher will effectively raise the voice of the people of this constituency in Lok Sabha and fight for their rights. Thousands of people had lined up to welcome Captain Amarinder Singh on the entire route of the road show that began from Road New Chakki Bridge in Pathankot and culminated in Batala. Party MLAs from the districts of Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Batala joined the Chief Minister during the road show in their respective constituencies.People lining the roads showered flowers and garlands on Captain Amarinder Singh as his roadshow passed the streets of Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala. Waving the Congress flags, drum beating party supporters could be seen waving frantically to Captain Amarinder, who smiled all the way as he waved back at the crowds that surged all along the roadshow route. Shopkeepers came out in large numbers as the roadshow went through the market areas. Even the highways resonated with pro-Congress slogans as a tireless Captain Amarinder spent the entire day, till the close of campaigning, on the road.
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