Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal seems to be in no mood to fill the two cabinet berths that have fallen vacant following the convictions of former cabinet ministers Bibi Jagir Kaur and Tota Singh. While Bibi is serving a five year sentence in her daughters murder and forced abortion case,Tota,who received a one year sentence for graft,is out on bail.
While responding to queries on replacements for the two former ministers,Badal,who was in Jalandhar on Sunday,said the government was waiting for the outcome of the appeals filed by both convicted former ministers before deciding on the next course of action. The chief minister also brushed aside suggestions that there should be replacements as the appeals may take a while and said that some times the cases are decided quickly.
On whether Bibi,who is a SGPC member,should give up her membership on moral grounds,the chief minister first refused to give a clear-cut answer and then said the matter was pending court.
About recruitment in the rural development departments,which the government announced recently,Badal said a meeting of all the departments would be conducted and after a review of the situation,all posts in the rural development departments would be filled.
The chief minister reiterated that the Centre should provide Punjab a special economic package to help the state reduce its debt burden of Rs 11,000 crore as it had single-handedly fought a decade-long battle against militancy to secure the unity and integrity of the country.
He also said that the Centre should refrain from drafting uniform policies for all the states and should rather let the states formulate policies as per the needs of their people. The chief minister said the state government has already asked the Centre to review its criteria of constructing roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna and for constructing the roads in border districts as the criteria fixed by the Union government was hindering the state from reaping the benefits.
On the economic condition of the state,Badal said that due to the financial injustice meted out to the state by successive Congress governments at the Union level,Punjab was reeling under a staggering debt. Slamming the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for the recent hike in price of petrol the chief minister said the hike would unleash fresh inflationary trends resulting in further increase in prices of all essential commodities .