Even as he unleashed a tirade against Narendra Modi for his unabashed lies and the deceit perpetuated against the people in the last five years, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday declared that those guilty of the 1984 riots should and will be punished, reiterating that Sam Pitroda’s `hua to hua’ remark on the tragic events was shameful. Calling the riots totally wrong and tragic, Rahul said Pitroda should be ashamed of his remark on the 1984 riots and should publicly apologise for it. Flanked by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and AICC secretary in charge of Punjab Asha Kumari, Rahul said he had personally called up Pitroda to demand an unequivocal apology, which the people of India wanted and deserved for his controversial remarks. Those responsible for the riots should and will be punished, he declared, addressing rallies in support of party candidate Dr Amar Singh from Fategarh Sahib, Dr Raj Kumar Chabbewal from Hoshiarpur and Ch Santokh Singh Chaudhary from Jalandhar. Giving a further boost of energy to the party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, polling for which is due in Punjab on May 19, Rahul termed these polls an ideological fight between false promises and realistic commitments. Modi and his BJP haD cheated the people of India with their lies and false propaganda, while Congress has always remained true to its promises, Rahul declared amid cries of `Chowkidar Chor Hai’. “This chowkidar has been exposed, the people know the truth about him and he can no longer escape for perpetrating theft of their hard-earned money with demonetization and GST, and for diverting Rs 30000 crore to Anil Ambani with the Rafale defence deal,” warned the Congress president in his hard-hitting speeches. A humble Rahul said it was not him but the Congress workers and the people whom the prime minister had cheated who fighting against him. He was only standing with them in this fight, which Modi had already lost, he declared. People will not forgive Modi for standing a mute spectator when Dalits and minorities were being attacked, youth were being deprived of jobs and scholarships, farmers were committing suicide or were being thrown behind bars and the money of the people was being stolen from them, Rahul said. The prime minister had looted the common people, through his ill-conceived demonetization and GST (Gabbar Singh Tax( and given their hard-earned money to Ambani, Mallya, Chowksi and Nirav Modi, said Rahul, adding that Narendra Modi was now running scared of even debating with him on issues of corruption and Rafale as he had no answers to his questions. Lashing out at Modi for destroying the nation and its economy, the Congress president listed the prime minister’s long list of unfulfilled promises, including 2 crore jobs for youth every year and Rs 15 lakh in every poor person’s bank account, to warn the people against giving him another chance to ruin their lives. While ordinary people were standing in queues during demonetization, and youth were losing jobs, with small traders and shopkeepers forced to shut down business as a result of GST, 15 rich industrialists pocketed crores of rupees from the Modi government in these five years, said Rahul. Pointing to the shocking figures of unemployment, which stood at its worst in 45 years, Rahul said the Congress party’s NYAY scheme will not only ensure Rs 72000 for 5 crore families a year, for the next five years, but will also ensure employment to youth and improved business for shopkeepers as well as small and medium sized traders by increasing the purchasing power of the people. NYAY will give employment to those who were rendered jobless by the demonetization, he promised. While Modi was talking about surgical strikes, it was the Congress which was preparing to launch the real surgical strikes on poverty, which NYAY would completely wiped out from the country, Rahul announced. NYAY would act like diesel in a tractor to fire up the Indian economy once again and put the nation back on the path of becoming a global economic power, as under the UPA government of Sr Manmohan Singh, he added. It will undo the damage done by the Modi government, said Rahul. Promising the maximum benefit of NYAY to Adivasis and Dalits, Rahul said the Congress wanted every citizen of India to be free to dream, and to be free from poverty. Declaring the Congress party’s commitment to protecting the interests of the farmers, Rahul pointed out that the Congress had waived off loans, within two days of coming power in , Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Rahul said the party would not stop here if elected to the Centre but would ensure that farmers get due price for their crops, with the promised separate budget to ensure the same. He lauded Captain Amarinder for waiving off farm loans despite the fiscal crisis in Punjab. Recalling allegations from BJP’s Shivraj Chauhan of the farm loan waiver being a farce in Madhya Pradesh, Rahul shared that the former chief minister’s own family members had benefitted from the waiver under the Kamal Nath regime there. No farmer, of any state, religion or caste, will go to jail for default on loan payment, Rahul further announced amid cheers. Deriding Modi for ridiculing MNREGA, the Congress president said his party, if voted to power, would provide MNREGA for 150 days instead of the earlier 100 days. He announced 22 lakh government jobs for youth within the first year of the Congress taking over the country’s reins, with another 10 lakh in panchayats. Lauding the employment initiatives launched successfully by Captain Amarinder in Punjab, Rahul said a lot more would be done across the country to revive industry and generate self-employment. Start-ups would not be required to take any government permissions in the first three years of launch, he said, adding that the Congress would bring India back on the track of development and progress. Expressing happiness over the large number of women party workers at the Hoshiarpur rally, Rahul promised 35% reservation for women in government jobs at the national level, as well in state assemblies, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The Chief Minister, in his address, reiterated that his government would ensure the fulfilment of all the promises made by the Congress ahead of the Assembly elections. Asserting that his government still had three years to go, he assured the people that every single promise would be implemented before the end of his term. In just two years, the incumbent Punjab government had complete farm loan waiver for majority of the 10.25 lakh small and marginal farmers for whom the debt waiver scheme had been launched. Citing the efforts being made to facilitate employment, which was a top priority for his government, Captain Amarinder said 82.5 lakh youth had already got jobs, with four job melas already held across the state. His government had also opened offices to facilitate youth desirous of going abroad, to ensure they are not duped by illegal agents. With 78% of the MOUs signed by his government already operationalized on the ground, industries were being revived to boost the state’s economy and generate employment. The Chief Minister said the promise of 5 marla plots for 1.30 lakh rural homeless was in the process of being implemented while the first batch of smart phones for youth would be ready for distribution soon after the Lok Sabha polls. It was not possible to fulfill every promise in the first two years but he was personally committed to ensuring 100% implementation of all promises, just as he had done during his previous term, said Captain Amarinder. Citing the Congress manifesto, Captain Amarinder also assured the people of early implementation of `one rank one pension’ (OROP) scheme to fulfill the long-pending demand of the ex-soldiers. It was these defence personnel who had protected the nation’s security and safety, and not Narendra Modi, who claimed to be the custodian of nationalism and patriotism. Underlining the need to protect the diversity of secular India, the Chief Minister lambasted Narendra Modi for trying to destroy the nation’s strength of unity. These elections, he said, were a battle between love and hatred, unity and divisiveness.