Two days after Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh surrendered power subsidy to his farms, only one Congress MLA has followed suit. Fatehgarh Sahib MLA Kuljit Singh Nagra not only announced giving up free power for his father’s 10 acre land, he also promised to donate his one month salary every year for the cause of farmers, labourers, Dalits and the poor. His announcement came during the ongoing session of Punjab Assembly on Wednesday. “My father is a small farmer with just 10 acres. Still, we will contribute our bit to help the state plundered by the previous government,” he said.
Giving a call to Punjabis across the world, he added: “We should all get together to rebuild the state.” Fund crunched Punjab has been grappling with a fat power subsidy bill. This fiscal it is all set to cross a whopping Rs 10,000 crore. While Amarinder made the promise in the party’s manifesto that he would continue with the power subsidy, the government, under a debt of Rs 2 lakh crore finds it difficult to pay the bill. So, CM decided to lead by example, hoping that other big farmers would also do the same. Besides Nagra, AAP MLA from Begowal, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, had also made the announcement soon after Amarinder that he too would be paying his farm’s power bill. No other MLA has so far offered to do the same.
Interestingly, in Congress alone nearly 50 per cent sitting MLAs are associated with agriculture through their kith and kin, said sources. The government had hoped that Amarinder’s decision would make many others make similar announcement. When Nagra was making the announcement, former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal asked him to get a resolution moved in the House and said that all Akali MLAs would support the resolution to give up their subsidy and also donate their one month salary every year. Sukhbir was joined by former Transport Minister Ajit Singh Kohar.
Faridkot MLA Kushaldeep Singh Kiki, however, took on Sukhbir saying Akalis did not need a resolution to do “a voluntary act”. “Why do you need a resolution? Did CM sahib need a resolution for doing so?” he said.