Punjab Lok Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the Congress had made a big mistake by declaring Charanjit Singh Channi as its chief ministerial face as a "chief minister should be decided on grounds of capability and not on the metric of caste".
Stating that Punjab was never before divided on caste or religious lines, he claimed, "Channi does not have the caliber of a chief minister and his tall claims cannot fool the people of the state."
"Channi claims he has done 'everything' in 111 days. He is fooling the people. Every project has a gestation period and takes months to start," he noted, warning people against getting carried away by such "brazen lies". He added that all the projects mentioned by Mr Channi were initiated by his government.
On the Congress declaring Mr Channi as its chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming state polls, Captain Singh said, "A chief minister should be decided on grounds of capability and not on the metric of caste, be it an SC, Jat or Hindu, which they (Congress) had done."
The former chief minister also warned of an explosion soon from Navjot Singh Sidhu, saying the PCC president was too ambitious to stay quiet for long. Notably, Mr Sidhu was the other main contender for Congress' chief ministerial face.
Alleging that leaders like Mr Channi and Deputy CM Sukhjinder Randhawa had backstabbed him and misled the Congress high command after he had supported them in their political careers, Captain Singh said these men could not be trusted. "They will compromise the interests of Punjab to further their own," he warned in a statement.
He said there was no comparison between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as far as political and public life experience go. He said he had known PM Modi for long and used to meet him frequently in Delhi at a time when they were both chief ministers, adding that the Modi government had helped him whenever Punjab was in dire straits.
"We have to work with them to ensure a safe future for Punjab," he said.
"The future of Punjab depends on the upcoming polls," he said, underlining the need for close Centre-state coordination to secure the state's interests.
On whether his wife, MP Preneet Kaur, will campaign for him or the Congress, Captain Singh said it was for her to decide.
"Politics is different... my mother was in the BJP and I was in the Congress. We sat in opposite benches in parliament... politics politics hoti hai, pyaar pyaar hota hai (politics is politics, love is love)," he remarked.
He also urged the people to vote for "vikas" (development) and not "vinaash" (destruction).
He also trashed surveys favouring the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), saying such polls were conducted even in 2017 and had proven to be false.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)