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Prove that Parkash Badal availed multiple pension or face legal action: Sukhbir to Mann

Earlier in the day, Mann while addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad, said his government has saved crores of rupees by stopping multiple pensions to legislators.

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal (File)

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal Wednesday challenged Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to place on record the pensions which he has alleged were availed by former CM Parkash Singh Badal or be ready to face a defamation suit for peddling lies. Badal was reacting to statement by Punjab CM in poll-bound Gujarat where, while talking about how the Aam Aadmi Party government put an end to multiple pensions to ex-MLAs, Mann gave an example of Akali Dal patron.

“Mann is running a defamation campaign at the behest of his party, which has spend hundreds of crores on advertisements, including in poll-bound Gujarat. Mann may think that he can lie and mislead the people but we will hold him to his words. Now, he will have to substantiate his claims by placing the record in public domain or apologise for his utterances. If he does neither, we will take recourse to legal action against him,” Badal said.

Earlier in the day, Mann while addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad, said his government has saved crores of rupees by stopping multiple pensions to legislators.

Citing an example, Mann said, “Parkash Singh Badal aath baar MLA rahe hain, aur dekh lo, pehli ki Rs 75,000, baaki saat ki 60,000…Aur bahut se MLAs jo char-paanch baar jeete hain. Who pension humne bandh kar di ki bhai sewa ke naam pe vote lete they, sewa ki pension nahi hoti [Parkash Singh Badal remained MLA for eight terms. So for first term (pension comes to) Rs 75,000 and for next seven terms Rs 60,000 each. There are several others who remained MLAs for four or five terms. We stopped the that pension. You (MLA) sought vote in the name of selfless service. There is no pension for selfless service]”.

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Mann was apparently referring to the amendment bill passed in June this year by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha putting an end to multiple pensions to ex-MLAs for every term served.

However, Badal, in a statement said, that his father has “never in his life” claimed pension as a former MLA. “The truth is that the 5-time CM had written to the Protem Speaker immediately after his 2022 Assembly election loss asking that that pension due to him for serving 10 terms as a legislator should not be sent to him,” said Badal, adding that his father had requested that the money should be used for public welfare, especially education of the girl child.

This communication is a matter of the state Assembly’s record, Badal said.

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“It is clear that the CM is making mischievous comments purposely to show the SAD in poor light and herald himself as a messiah who is saving taxpayers’ money,” Badal said, adding that “actually the opposite” is true.

“The entire AAP campaign is built on propaganda with Rs 700 crore being earmarked for advertisements in the current financial year only. Hundreds of crores of rupees have already been spent on advertisements by the AAP across the country, including in poll-bound Gujarat,” Badal alleged.

“This is Punjabi taxpayers’ money that should have been “utilised for development in the state. This also shows how interested the CM really is in utilising public money for the welfare of Punjabis,” the Akali Dal chief added.

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On Mann’s remarks in Gujarat that his government was constructing 16 medical colleges, Badal said, “This is a blatant lie. All the medical colleges sanctioned in Punjab are part of a post-Covid initiative of the central government and are centrally funded projects”.

Badal also asked Mann to reflect upon the “massive contribution of Parkash Singh Badal in building the health infrastructure of Punjab as compared to his complete non-performance”.

“The most you (Mann) have done is repaint the Suvidha Centres established by the SAD government to convert them into Mohalla Clinics on the failed Delhi Model,” he said adding that Parkash Singh Badal was singularly responsible for establishment of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, AIIMS Bathinda, PIMS Jalandhar, Advanced Cancer Institute Bathinda, PGI Satellite Centre at Sangrur and Homi Bhabha Cancer Institute in Mohali.

He said Parkash Singh Badal had also initiated unique health care schemes including financial assistance of Rs 1.5 lakh to cancer patients, establishment of 1933 free medicine shops and 750 free diagnostic centres and 108 Ambulance Sewa”.

First published on: 30-11-2022 at 21:01 IST
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