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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Punjab: First-time MLAs give feedback to Prashant Kishor, point out shortcomings of govt

The MLAs, who were present in the meeting, told The Indian Express that they had apprised Kishor of issues including bureaucracy ruling the roost in the state, elusive ministers, who preferred to stay away from the Civil Secretariat and workers not getting a hearing with them.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
March 25, 2021 9:10:00 am
First-time MLAs give feedback to Prashant Kishor, point out shortcomings of govtKishor will be meeting senior MLAs too and chalk out a strategy for the party. (Express File)

DAYS after AAP rally at Moga, first-time Congress MLAs at a meeting with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s Principal Adviser and poll strategist Prashant Kishor Wednesday lamented non-fulfilment of promises, bureaucracy ruling the roost, ministers’ absence from secretariat, inadequate debt waiver, lack of closure of Bargari sacrilege, inflated power bills and other issues.

Kishor held a meeting with first-time Congress MLAs and took feedback about the ground situation ahead of 2022 Assembly elections in the state. About 34-35 MLAs met him in groups of three each and gave him feedback on the issues that confronted the Congress.

The MLAs, who were present in the meeting, told The Indian Express that they had apprised Kishor of issues including bureaucracy ruling the roost in the state, elusive ministers, who preferred to stay away from the Civil Secretariat and workers not getting a hearing with them.

“There are only a few ministers who are available. Bureaucracy runs the show in Punjab. We told Kishor that. We have told the party leadership too but things have not changed much. The ministers do not sit in the secretariat. If we get party workers and supporters from the field, we do not know whom to take them to. Nobody is available. How would you keep the morale up?” an MLA said.

Also, a few MLAs raised the non-fulfillment of promises, including lack of jobs, not taking Bargari sacrilege to a logical conclusion.

Preferring anonymity, a first-time MLA said that Kishor wanted to know if drugs was still an issue. “We told him that we do not see groups of youth sitting openly and consuming drugs anymore. But the government was not able to catch the big fish. That promise is unfulfilled. The report of chief of STF on drugs is lying sealed in an envelope in the High Court. But nothing has happened. People ask
us on the ground. How do we answer?”

A few MLAs said that the debt waiver also did not pay up much as the political people were not involved in the process of rolling out the
waiver.

Some of them raised the issue of inflated power bills saying that people were sick of expensive power in the state even as the government had failed to act on a pre-poll promise of cancelling the power agreements with private companies.

Kishor will be meeting senior MLAs too and chalk out a strategy for the party. While several leaders have been feeling that such feedback should be taken by the political organisation, some others felt that Kishor had already got surveys done on the ground.

“His teams have been there in the state conducting surveys. He knows the ground reality. That is how we told him everything without mincing any words,” an MLA said.

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