Updated: February 17, 2022 5:21:21 pm
With barely three days left for Punjab to go to polls, the ruling Congress party is yet to release its manifesto. While senior party leaders are worried over the delay, those in charge of the manifesto said it may be released online Thursday. Punjab votes on February 20 and the election campaign will come to a close on Friday.
A senior Congress leader on condition of anonymity said, “What are they waiting for? Why was the committee for the election manifesto even formed?”
Another leader said, “It seems that they have no clear vision. Only announcements are being made. They are focused on their internal fights.”
The leader added, “Sidhu is giving out his own models, Channi (Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi) is announcing his own freebies but all these must be included in a formal document called the manifesto.”
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In the run up to the election, while Congress is facing both anti-incumbency and a tough competition from their rivals, all senior party leaders are busy campaigning in their respective constituencies and announcing populous schemes.
Congress party’s manifesto committee head MP Partap Singh Bajwa speaking to The Indian Express Thursday said, “Yes, the party is yet to release the manifesto and it may do so online first today (Thursday) and then later in the day, a print copy is likely to be released by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.”
Bajwa added, “They have asked me to come to Chandigarh for its formal release today (Thursday) but with the campaign period ending tomorrow (Friday), I am very busy in my own constituency and cannot afford to spare time to go to Chandigarh in the fag end.”
Last month, Bajwa and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu had held a meeting in Jalandhar to discuss about the manifesto but in the press conference after the meeting, they only discussed Sidhu’s most-advocated ‘Punjab Model’, which they claimed will change the entire scenario in the state.
Bajwa had also supported Sidhu’s 13-point charter and had said these points would be a part of the party’s election manifesto along with others.
Sidhu had also batted for the formation of the Jitega Punjab Commission. This commission, he said, would be the mind of the government and work as the “principal policy advisory” and the “think tank” which will advise each department of the government and the MLAs. Sidhu also promised to run the Punjab Assembly for at least 100 days on the lines of the ‘Punjab Model’.
Sidhu had unveiled several points of the ‘Punjab Model’ in a joint press conference accompanied by Bajwa, including decentralisation of power, power to the panchayats, municipal committees, women empowerment, MSP on pulses, oils, pulses etc to the farmers. Rights to the labour class, development of industries, two-wheelers for girls taking admission in college and a vision for NRIs among others were also a part of the charter.
Sidhu had also unveiled his vision to enhance Punjab’s income manifold by making policies in the liquor, sand, cable and transport sectors.
Meanwhile, a senior party leader said Channi announced several freebies which were to be a part of the manifesto but are yet to turn into a formal document.
Channi’s freebies included Rs 1,100 per month to the women folk, slashing of power prices to Rs 3 per unit, sand prices to Rs 4 per cubic feet, capping of cable charges at Rs 100 per month, one lakh jobs to the youths within a year, free mobile data to students, eight free LPG gas cylinders annually among others.
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