Setting at rest speculation, Rahul Gandhi Friday announced that Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh will be the party's chief ministerial face in the high-stakes Assembly polls and launched a scathing attack on the Akalis for "plundering" the state.
With drug menace being a major poll issue in Punjab, he promised bringing a tough law to wipe out "chitta" and jail those responsible for "playing with the lives of the youth" if his party comes to power in the state.
Amarinder (74), who is fighting his last election, will be the next Chief Minister if the party forms government in the state, Gandhi said.
Addressing the rally in the pocket-borough of Punjab minister and SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia, the Congress vice president claimed Amarinder "alone can change Punjab" and set it on the right track along with the support of the people and there is no other way out.
The ruling SAD and AAP have been mocking Congress, asking why the party was not declaring Amarinder as its chief ministerial candidate for the February 4 Assembly polls.
"Punjab will be run by its people. I want to tell you that Punjab's chief minister will be from Punjab and Punjab's chief minister is sitting here. Amarinder Singh is the chief ministerial candidate and he will be Punjab's chief minister," he said, prompting leaders to congratulate Amarinder on the dais.
The Nehru-Gandhi scion said Punjab will not be run by "remote control" as it does not need one, taking a veiled dig at Arvind Kejriwal and accusing him of wanting to become Delhi and Punjab chief minister at the same time.