“Inaction” of the Congress-led government against Akalis, goonda tax and unfulfilled pre-poll promises were among the issues that reverberated in Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s meeting on Thursday with the party MLAs, MPs and ministers. Amarinder had organised a pre-budget meeting with the party’s elected representatives to take their wish list.
PPCC president Sunil Kumar Jakhar urged the CM to take action on a few Akalis to convey a strong message to the people. While addressing the meeting, Jakhar is learnt to have remarked that if a “snake decides not to bite, it should not stop hissing.” His suggestion was seconded by most of the legislators present in the meeting, sources said.
Jakhar’s remarks came after party MP Santokh Chaudhary spoke about poll khol rallies of Akalis. He told the meeting that the Akalis were emboldened and were trying to take on the government even before it completed a year. He also said that they were threatening the government officials of dire consequences and not letting them work. The PPCC president also raised the issue of goonda tax stating it should be stopped as it was affecting government’ image.
He also told the meeting that government was able to check the menace of drugs but liquor was being sold across the state. The party’s Rajya Sabha MPs and also known critics of Amarinder, Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo came down heavily on the government stating that pre-poll promises were not being fulfilled. They said shagun scheme was not being implemented, social security pensions were being delayed, smartphones were promised but not given. Dullo said they were faced with 2019 Lok Sabha election and if promises are not fulfilled it would cost the party dear.
Bajwa questioned Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on why the white paper on all departments, promised by him in the manifesto was not brought out yet. He said although the state was facing a “funds constraint”, there was a lot that could be done without money. Several MLAs raised issue of “turf war” between them and guardians of governance (GOG) who the MLAs said were claiming credit to all the works done.
The CM announced his government’s decision to set aside Rs 128 crore every month for disbursement of old-age pension, while assuring that distribution of free mobile phones to youth would commence this year. The meeting started at 11 am and continued till five including a lunch break from 1 pm-2:30 pm. As many as 72 MLAs attended the meeting.