The Leader of Opposition (LoP) Harpal Singh Cheema on the last day of the current budget session accused the Punjab government, especially the state finance minister, Manpreet Singh Badal, of lying and fudging figures to conceal the facts about the Punjab's economic health.Cheema, along with other party MLAs and leaders, interacted with the media at the Assembly Press Gallery.Others present on the occasion were Aman Arora, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Jai Krishan Singh Rauri, Meet Hayer (All MLAs), party spokemen Navdeep Sangha, Govinder Mittal, Neel Garg, Dinesh Chadha and State Media Head Manjit Singh Sidhu.Expressing his gratitude to the media, Cheema said that during the budget session, the AAP, as the principal opposition, raised almost all the key people-centric issues, both inside and outside the House, which were prominently highlighted by the media fraternity. The prominent issues taken up on the floor of the House, included the sand mafia, transport mafia, alcohol mafia, power mafia, drug mafia, interlock tile mafia, unemployment, debt on farmers and farm hands, agricultural crisis, unpaid scholarships due to the Dalit category of students, pensions for widows, elderly, et al.
Cheema hit out at the Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal for concealing the the true status of the debt on the government of Punjab, stating that it was actually under debt of more than 5 lakh crore and not Rs 2.5 lakh as the financial had allegedly fudged the figures to conceal the state’s health status.The LoP aid that the mafia raj about which the Aam Aadmi Party had crying hoarse in and outside the House for a long time, the Congress government's own ministers and MLAs had come out in the open to put up their stamp and seal on the discord. Prominent among those who were vocal included senior leaders like Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Pargat Singh, Raja Warring, Pratap Singh Bajwa, Shamsher Singh Dulo and others. Even Punjab state Congress president Sunil Jakhar had come out in support of the move mounted by the AAP for cancellation of the power agreement to eliminate the power mafia calling the shots in the state.The AAP leader alleged the Chief Minister spoke in the House about bringing a white paper on electricity mafia but later withdrew it citing no plausible reasons for the turnaround. Cheema said that the mafia, a brain child of the previous Akali-BJP government had now set its tune with te ruling Congress Government in the state with the CM usurping worth crores from private power companies, like his predecessors – the Badals, which was why power purchase agreements were not terminated, he said.