With an eye on the ensuing Lok Sabha polls,the ruling SAD-BJP combine in Punjab tried everything in the book to reap maximum political mileage from the show of strength at Sukhbir Badals coronation as Deputy Chief Minister.
The ceremony was telecast live on a number of channels and to ensure the widest-possible audience,Punjab,reeling from acute power cuts (of as long as six hours in a day for months on end),had no load-shedding on Tuesday.
Sources said Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) chairman H S Brar had specifically instructed officials to make sure there were no power cuts on Tuesday. To ensure uninterrupted supply,the PSEB overdrew power from the national grid at a higher price,procuring 20 lakh units from neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and reduced the supply to tubewell connections from six hours to four hours.
Brar,who also attended the swearing-in,tried to delink the development with the coronation ceremony. We give 133 lakh units of power daily to other states as per our banking arrangement obligations. Today,there was less demand from those states, claimed Brar.
Asked about PSEB overdrawing power from the national grid,he said,we were a little careful today. He also claimed that 20 lakh units procured from Himachal Pradesh were due to Punjab as per earlier agreements. Intriguingly,Himachal Pradesh in one of the states from which Punjab procures power in summer and returns in winter.
Brar denied that power supply to tubewells was reduced. If that happened,it must be due to some generation problems, he claimed.