Union Food Processing Industry Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Wednesday said state Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal was shying away from contesting from this parliamentary constituency because he could not face the electorate after “insulting their mandate” and taking “anti-people steps” like closing down the thermal plant, allowing “goonda tax” to flourish and creating road blocks in the establishment of AIIMS, Bathinda.
In a statement here, Harsimrat Badal said Manpreet had ruled himself out of the race because he knew he had denied promised benefits to each and every section of society. “He knows everyone will unite as one against him and this is why he…does not want to contest the elections”.
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Harsimrat alleged that the minister had “antagonised” the people of Bathinda by claiming he had lost narrowly in 2014 because the civil and police administration under the SAD-BJP government tenure used all means at their disposal to defeat him. “Now the entire administration is at his beck and call. Despite this he is not contesting because he realises that he has insulted the mandate of the people by claiming their conscience is for sale and that it is dictated by the official machinery.”
She alleged that the functioning of the Bathinda refinery was also affected with the FM allowing “goonda tax” to flourish without any check in the city.
Stating that every section of society was affected by the finance minister’s “anti-employee and anti-Dalit attitude”, she said Manpreet Badal had denied four DA installments to government employees. “The FM has also decreased the pay of contractual teachers from Rs 45,000 to Rs 15,000 besides refusing to regularize 27,000 employees despite the fact that the previous SAD-BJP government had passed an Act to regularize their services”.
The Bathinda MP said the FM had refused to implement his own recommendation as head of the Congress party’s manifesto committee to give compensation of Rs 10 lakh and government jobs to families of all farm suicide victims. She said the FM was also denying money for the smooth running of social welfare schemes including the ‘aata-daal’ and ‘shagun’ schemes. “Even Dalit students are not being spared by the FM with the students not been paid the centrally funded post-matric scholarship. She said that similarly, 12 lakh students of government schools were also denied winter uniform this year despite the fact that central grant for the same was received by the state government.
Stating that people were waiting to teach him a lesson for making excuses, Harsimrat alleged that if funds were really an issue, why did Manpreet Badal spend huge amounts on renovating his office, waiving off penal rent of fellow Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and sanctioning purchase of luxury cars? “Austerity it seems is for the people only during Congress rule,” she said.