In a no-holds-barred attack on Arvind Kejriwal, who is spearheading the Aam Aadmi Party's debut charge in poll-bound Punjab and hoping to wrest power from the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiromani Akali Dal alliance, Congress heavyweight Captain Amarinder Singh told HuffPost India that the Delhi Chief Minister is using radicals to bring the dark days of 70s and 80s back in the state.
Singh's comments came after Kejriwal allegedly spent the night at ex-Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) militant Gurinder Singh's house in Moga during his campaign. Singh is an acquitted former militant.
Amarinder Singh said he was "extremely concerned."
"Kejriwal has used the extreme Left earlier... and now he is using the extreme right in Punjab," the former chief minister of the state, Congress' CM candidate and former Patiala royal, said.
"This is what happened to us in the 70s when the extreme left and extreme right joined up and created a Khalistan movement. Eventually 35000 people died in Punjab. When these elements establish themselves, Kejriwal will be the first victim, they will throw him out and the extremist will take over again. We will be back to square one," he said.
The AAP has thrown its hat in the ring for the 4 February assembly polls, and posed a new challenge to the Congress in the state.
Priyanka Gandhi, Singh said, played a key role in bringing former Indian cricketer and former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, and former Indian Hockey Captain Pargat Singh to the Congress. Sidhu, who had almost joined the AAP, was ultimately wooed by the Congress. Before joining the party, Pargat Singh was the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA from Jalandhar.
"I think she is already doing a great deal in the back scene activity for us, for instance, bringing Mr Sidhu and Mr Pargat Singh into the Congress fold. Likewise, she played role in UP also," he said. Sidhu and Pargat Singh have brought additional traction for the Congress in the state.
Explaining his decision to contest from Lambi against Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Singh said: "People elected Badal as the Chief Minister for Punjab and not for themselves (the Badal family). After 10 years of SAD rule, we are demolished, Badal has done nothing for state, industry has moved out, trade is finished, we are absolutely zero."
"This man has been there for 10 years and has brought Punjab to its knees," he said. It's the SAD, not AAP that damaged the Congress. The "breakaway Akali's" are all moving to AAP, he said.
Taking a swipe at former Indian Army Chief General JJ Singh — who is contesting against him from Patiala on a SAD ticket — the Captain said, Singh "wasn't even fit to be a Major" in the Indian Army.
Singh who retired from the Indian Army but returned to fight the 1965 India-Pakistan War said the promotion policy in the military "needs to be examined".
"I am hurt to know that the system is throwing up people like him," Singh said.
"What would happen to the country if we went to war and General JJ Singh was at helm?" he said, taking a dig at his political opponent.