Election manifestos should be given the status of legal document and a law should be framed to hold political parties accountable if they fail to fulfill the promises they make in the run up to the elections, former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal Tuesday said.
“If the manifesto comes under legal purview, the political party has to abide by it. Otherwise all the promises remain on papers only. A law should be framed so that parties which back out from promises in poll manifesto are held accountable,” Badal said.
The Akali Dal patron’s remarks comes a day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi announced that Rs 72,000 per year will be given as minimum income to poor families, benefiting around 25 crore people, if his party was voted to power in Lok Sabha polls, and asserted that it will be the “final assault” on poverty.
Badal didn’t name Gandhi but chose to target the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh in Punjab over “unfulfilled promises”.
“Parties make many announcements and promises, but fail to fulfil them. This can be seen in Punjab where Amarinder Singh took the oath of office holding the holy Gutka Sahib in his hands and made several promises. He said he will give one job per family and waive debt of farmers, but once Congress got the votes and came to power, these promises were forgotten”.
“Farmer loans have not been waived. The youth were promised jobs and unemployment allowance, smartphones… which have not been given,” he said, adding that parties should be made accountable, otherwise “these (poll promises) will remain mere lectures”.
Badal, a five term chief minister, did not talk about any promises that his party made and didn’t fulfil. He, however, indicated
Earlier, Punjabi Ekta Party (PEP) president Sukhpal Singh Khaira too had said that election manifesto should be made a legal document. His party’s candidate from Faridkot, Master Baldev Singh too had said that “if parties fail to deliver, they should be disqualified”.
Recently, a farmers’ body — Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajowal) — had said manifesto released by parties at the time of elections should be considered a legal document by the Election Commission of India and if parties failed to fulfil promises made in them, they should be liable for legal action.
Meanwhile, replying to a specific query on the ongoing controversy over AIIMS, Bathinda, Badal said, “The hospital has been approved by the Centre and (Bathinda MP) Harsimrat (Kaur Badal) got it approved. The Punjab government’s efforts to derail the project are unjustified”.
Harsimrat, a Union minister, has accused Punjab Health Minister Brahm Mohindra of “not doing his job and approach the Centre for establishing a temporary campus for the Rs 925-crore project”. Mohindra, on the other hand, has claimed that the state had no role in the matter as it was “wholly and solely a Government of India project, of which Harsimrat Badal was herself a part and parcel”.
On March 31, the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab will kick-off a series of rallies in view of the April-May parliamentary elections.