Former Deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today said it was the first time in the history of Punjab that an incumbent government had recognized the work of its predecessor as had been done by the Congress government in the Governor’s Address.Addressing newsmen at the press gallery in the Vidhan Sabha, the former Deputy CM said each and every achievement listed out in the Governor’s Address was authored by the previous SAD-BJP government led by S Parkash Singh Badal. “I am thankful to the chief minister because this year’s Governor’s address is a forceful endorsement of the policies, programmes, decisions and achievements of the SAD-BJP government during the last ten years from 2007-17”.Asking the Congress government to list one achievement listed in the document which had not been implemented by S Parkash Singh Badal, the SAD president said the Address seemed to have got two things wrong – the dates and the name of the chief minister, which was S Parkash Singh Badal and not Capt Amarinder Singh.
Mr Sukhbir Badal also castigated the Address for being a visionless document which did not list even one action plan for the future. “Besides this the Governor’s Address has virtually abdicated Punjab’s claim on important issues including justice for 1984 victims and transfer of Chandigarh and Punjabi speaking areas by omitting their reference”.Exposing the hollowness of the Address, the former Deputy CM said the government had tried to tout the Punjab Transparency and Accountability in Delivery in Public Services Act as an achievement whereas it had only replaced the Right to Service Act introduced by the SAD-BJP government with the new nomenclature. He said similarly the government was trying to claim credit for successful dealing of inter-state river water disputes when it was a fact that the last assembly had passed an Act returning land acquired for Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal back to farmers under S Parkash Singh Badal’s leadership.
Mr Badal said similarly the Shahpur Kandi project was being touted as a Congress achievement when the same was started by the SAD-BJP government. “The Congress government has done nothing on the irrigation front but has listed this in the Address despite the fact that the SAD-BJP government spent Rs 3,070 crore on this head during its tenure. He said the government had also tried to take credit for the Pardhan Mantri Krishi Sanchai Yojna despite the fact that the scheme was launched by PM Shri Narendra Modi during SAD-BJP government. “The Congress government is also talking about subsidy for drip irrigation when it has not given any such subsidy and forgotten that Rs 300 crore was given to farmers under this head by the previous SAD-BJP government”.The former Deputy CM said the Congress government was so desperate to take credit for various acts that it had touted abolition of Section 67 A of the Cooperative Societies act when it was a fact that no farmer’s land had sold to recover loans during the last more 20 years.
He said in the same vein the government had also listed “continuance of free power to agriculture sector as well as partial free power to SC, BC and below poverty line families” as an achievement. Stating that such “achievements” had made a mockery of the Address, he said even this was not true as partial free power facility to backward classes had been withdrawn by the Congress government.Mr Badal said the government had also listed a new industrial and business policy while forgetting that the Invest Punjab department had been created by the SAD-BJP government. He also asked the government to list one project it had got to Punjab during the last one year, stating both the Sonalika and ITC investments had been approved by the SAD-BJP government.He said similarly the Congress should name one welfare scheme it had initiated, saying all such schemes – be it free power, old age pension or Shagun scheme – had been initiated by S Parkash Singh Badal.