Former Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira Tuesday asked sulking Congress legislator Navjot Singh Sidhu to lead a ‘surgical strike’ on the ills plaguing Punjab and offered him unconditional support in his venture.
Reacting to Sidhu’s video conference with NRIs where he talked about the economic mess of Punjab, Khaira said the Amritsar MLA was right in saying that one per cent political elite of state has looted its wealth, resources and exchequer due which common man is facing serious challenges.
While addressing NRIs Monday, Sidhu had blamed all governments since 1997 for landing the state in a financial mess. He did not spare his the current Congress government too, in which he remained a minister.
Sidhu had said that Rs 15,000 crore debt on Punjab in 1997 had gone up to almost Rs 2.50 lakh crore in the current fiscal. He pointed out that it was Rs 1.50 lakh crore in 2017, when Congress took reigns of the state from the Akalis.
“It is now time for a surgical strike to rid Punjab of this terminal illness. It is time for Navjot Sidhu to take the lead as he stands high in popularity amongst the masses particularly after his marvellous achievement of getting Kartarpur Sahib corridor opened,” said Khaira.
Khaira assured Sidhu that he and all those who have been vehemently opposing the corrupt and decayed traditional parties for a long time will support him unconditionally in this venture to save Punjab. He said although the final decision rested with Sidhu whether he would continue to remain in the Congress or to join any other party or to create a region centric force, but he is of the firm opinion that it is the very difficult to safeguard the interest of Punjab while being in any national party.
Khaira said there is a dire need for a regional party in Punjab so that the vital interests of Punjab including its waters, language, economy and other issues could be resolved without any fear. He added that the vacuum for a regional party has been created by SAD that now does not have the courage to safeguard the interest of Punjab or the minorities.
The former LoP said the SAD has completely abandoned its pro-Punjab agenda and its long pending demand for a true federal structure hence the need for a strong regional party for the betterment of Punjab. Khaira said he hoped that Sidhu would truly endeavour towards this goal decisively to work for a brighter future of Punjab.
Khaira said Punjab was a revenue surplus state till about 1985 with no debt burden on its exchequer. “Thereafter, the corrupt traditional parties that ruled Punjab turn wise have landed the state in chaos under a colossal debt of Rs 2.50 lac Crore. The entire mechanism of the state had virtually collapsed due to this huge debt,” he said.
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