Chandigarh, March 17:

Vowing to take Punjab forward by leaps and bounds if voted for another term, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said in the absence of a strong opposition, the Congress stood a good chance to return to power and take the state’s progress to the next level.

During an interaction at a conclave to mark the completion of three years of his government, the Chief Minister said with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had lost ground, while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was in total disarray in the state. The Akalis do not even have leadership at the moment, with the Badals having never allowed a strong leadership to emerge, and as for AAP, there was a lot of hype even during the 2017 polls but it failed to translate into victory, he said.

If the Congress returns to power, the next seven years will witness Punjab being restored to its previous glory as India’s number 1 state, asserted Captain Amarinder, adding that Punjabis are hardworking people, who can do wonders if shown the right direction.

Reiterating that he was geared to contest the next Assembly elections, the Chief Minister said he had thought that five years would be enough to revive the state’s fortunes but the situation had been so bad that his government needed more time.

While the finances had improved, the state government was still going through a financial crunch and needed to spend judiciously, said Captain Amarinder.

“I want to see a smile on the face of every Punjabi,” he asserted, adding that the next two years will witness the fulfilment of all the pending promises of his government as listed in the manifesto.

Responding to a question, the Chief Minister said infrastructure in the state had seen remarkable improvement in the last three years, making Punjab an investment destination with Rs 58000 crore on-ground investment. But the real impact of this will be seen in a couple of years, he added.

Asked about the possibility of international trade to Central Asia and Middle East through Pakistan, Captain Amarinder said he would like that but it did not seem feasible in the current

political scenario.

To a question on Navjot Sidhu, he said they had not met for a long time but the former minister had committed to sticking to the Congress and it was on the high command to decide how best to utilise his services.

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