WITH THE Congress government completing six months, the the Punjab BJP leadership Saturday presented a “report card” of eight ministers of the Amarinder Singh government, declaring them “failed” in their respective portfolios. Curiously, the report card did not include the name of Local Bodies and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. Punjab BJP general secretary Vineet Joshi accompanied by state BJP party vice president Harjit Singh Grewal read out the “report card” of the eight ministers at the party office here today, but parried queries about reasons for not including the name of Sidhu or whether he had “passed” the test. Feigning ignorance, Joshi said the BJP would present Sidhu’s “report card” later.
But the omission pointed to the dramatically opposite positions the alliance partners Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and BJP in Punjab, voted out of power in the February 4 Assembly elections, have on Sindhu, a former BJP Rajya Sabha member. SAD has been going all out to lash out at Sidhu, who has been the most vocal minister against Badals in Amarinder Singh Cabinet. On September 14, SAD said that “Sidhu went on to systematically discriminate against all religio-cultural projects completed by the SAD-BJP government”. SAD asked Sidhu to quit “if he could not protect the rich heritage and culture of the state.”
A BJP insider said, “How can we target Sidhu? He is going after corruption in a big way. Targeting him will backfire on BJP.” Barring Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for whom Joshi said he held a number of portfolios and separate “report card” for him would be presented later, BJP leader minced no words to hit out at other eight ministers. Joshi said the Congress government “failed” to fulfil main poll promises such as “full loan waiver to farmers, eradicating drugs within a month, ghar ghar naukri and smartphones to the youth”.
“Farmers, labourers, dalits, urban and rural masses, women, elderly, poor- all are feeling cheated in Congress’ 180 days of rule,” he said, adding that there was “policy paralysis” in the government. Former chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patron Parkash Singh Badal said the Congress government had failed on all fronts during the last six months be it political, economic or religious and had not only belied the expectation of the people but even betrayed their trust.
In a statement from the party head office here which he visited to interact with the party cadre, the five time chief minister said “not only had the Congress government defrauded farmers, it had deceived youth and had even not cared for the religious sentiments of Punjabis. This is not all; the Congress government has also played a cruel joke on the industry by announcing power to it at rate of Rs five per unit but not implementing this decision”.
The BJP “report card” of Congress ministers
In the “report card”, finance minister Manpreet Badal was “adjudged” by BJP as “failed” as the “accounts of Punjab government once got froze”. “GST has been implemented throughout the country, but why only the Punjab government has delayed the salaries?” it said. It said Irrigation minister Rana Gurjit Singh “failed” because he was “ineffective in cleaning the 1,500-km drain network in the state leading to flooding of acres of farmland on arrival of rains”.
The “report card” of Education minister Aruna Chowdhary said she “failed” because “Even after six months, neither did the text books reach schools, nor the school uniforms” among other things. It called SC and BC Welfare minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot as “a failure” as “Students are not getting the funds under Centre-sponsored post matric scholarship” and on other counts.
“Technical education minister Charanjeet Singh Channi too has failed because he unsuccessfully tried to camouflage the job festivals organised by private colleges as Punjab government’s initiative of providing jobs to unemployed youth under his Ghar-Ghar Naukri plank,” “the “report card” said. “Parliamentary Affairs minister Brahm Mohindra has failed because the government ruined parliamentary traditions by not allowing the Opposition MLAs to speak and instead forcibly threw them out of the Vidhan Sabha, it said referring to mayhem in Assembly in June.
“Rural Development and Panchayati Raj minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa failed because the Congress had promised to strengthen Panchayati Raj institutions in its poll manifesto, but instead the Amarinder government is planning to amend the Panchayati Raj Act, thereby withdrawing the power to remove Sarpanchs or Panchs from Director Panchayts and according it to the Deputy Commissioners. This will be detrimental to the interests of farmers and villagers,” it said.
“Social Security Minister Razia Sultan has failed, too. Leave aside fulfilling its promise of providing a pension or Rs. 1500 per month to elderly, widows and the specially-abled, the Congress is not even providing Rs 500 per month pension to nearly 19 lakh beneficiaries in the state,” said her “report card”.