Updated: August 6, 2021 10:41:17 am
Newly appointed Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu was Thursday shown black flags by farmers and ad-hoc teachers who also tried to break the barricading and clashed with the police as the Amritsar East MLA arrived in Moga to address a programme at Bughipura Chowk.
In protests reminiscent of those taking place against the ruling BJP-JJP leaders in Haryana and the saffron party leaders in Punjab, hundreds of protesters started raising slogans against Sidhu and the Congress government as soon he reached near Bhuggipura Chowk.
This was Sidhu’s maiden visit to the district after taking the reins of party in Punjab. He had faced protests from farmers in several other districts too.
On Thursday, farmers, led by Kirti Kisan Union, also showed black flags to Sidhu. While some farmers said that they were angry over his statement that “well doesn’t go to the thirsty, but thirsty walks to the well”, others said that they will continue to protest against Sidhu wherever he goes in Punjab because of the failure of the Congress MPs to raise farmers’ issues in Lok Sabha.’
The ad-hoc teachers – comprising education providers, EGS, STR, AIE and IEV volunteers – under the banner of ‘Kachhe Adhapak Union’, demanded regularisation of their jobs.
Later, while addressing party workers, Sidhu said that his only aim was to work on pro-people agendas and create the Punjab that each farmer of the state had always dreamt of.
Targeting Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal, Sidhu said that one must ask both of them from where they will get money to give “free power” in Punjab.
Incidentally, Sidhu, before being named the state Congress chief had advocated for a 24-hour supply with no power cuts and free power up to 300 units to all resident in state. This despite the fact that his party’s government was not able to fulfill the promise of 200 units free power made before the 2017 Assembly polls.
On Thursday, he termed Sukhbir’s promise 400 units of free power as a “lollipop” and asked, “From where will Punjab get the money to dole 400 units of free power? From where will Punjab’s income come?”
Further targeting the AAP for trying to hardsell the “Delhi Model”, Sidhu said that Punjab needs a model of its own. “Those selling the Delhi Model here too say they will waive electricity bills. From where they will get the money to do this?.” he asked.
He said that while Punjab, which is the land of Gurus, always had a culture of giving to others (Tera, tera, tera), Sukhbir has always worked on the principle of ‘mera, mera, mera’. “My buses, my hotels… for Sukhbir Badal everything belongs to him. Only his personal prosperity matters. But Baba Nanak’s Punjab is about tera, tera, tera.. it is about welfare of the people,” Sidhu said.
He said that Sukhbir and his team were responsible for leaving Punjab under debt of Rs 3 lakh crore during their 10 years in power.
Sidhu reiterated that Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and the three farm laws of the Centre – which ‘were aimed at breaking the backbone of the economy of Punjab’ – would be repealed in the next Assembly session.
Sidhu also raised fingers at his own party’s government over its policy on liqour and sand. He reiterated his demand to implement a liquor policy on the lines of Tamil Nadu while sand policy on the pattern of Andhra Pradesh.
“Rs 30,000 crore may be added to the state exchequer annually in case we implement a liquor policy like Tamil Nadu in Punjab while the revenue collection through sand policy like in Andhra Pradesh may earn the state a whopping Rs 2,000-3,000 crore per year from 1,100 kilometer-long river belts in Punjab despite of selling sand at a very nominal rate to buyers,” claimed Sidhu.
He also made a call to have a transparent advertisement policy in the state to enhance the income of the state exchequer.
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