Political parties are making a mockery of democracy in Punjab by offering freebies like ration, jobs and loans to lure voters.
The politics of ration was started by the Shiromani Akali Dal way back in 2007, when they offered wheat and pulses at subsidised rates. The scheme was a hit as the Akali Dal government covered more than one crore families under this scheme. While wheat is being given at Rs 1 per kg, pulses cost Rs 20 per kg.
Meanwhile, the Congress has added tea leaves, besides the subsidised ration, in its poll manifesto. The party has also promised to introduce subsidised food canteens for the poor which will provide a meal at Rs 5 throughout the state. Then, the BJP went a step ahead and added subsidised sugar and ghee to the menu.
Besides the subsidised ration, all mainstream parties, including AAP, BJP, Congress and Akali Dal, have promised jobs to each household. Punjab has over 32,68,562 households and these parties will have to create over 32 lakh jobs to fulfil the poll promise.
The Congress has registered over 40 lakh youths for "Har Ghar Rojgar", under which every registered youth has been given a card which will also entitle them for a monthly unemployment allowance of Rs 2,500, if not provided with a job.
Every political party has also promised a waiver of farmer debts, which has confused voters. On top of that, political parties have also started quarrelling on the issue of rivals extending manifestoes. On Sunday, Akali Dal chief and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal promised vocational training to 20 lakh youths by opening 2,500 skill development centres across the state, besides providing houses to the five lakh homeless, while the Congress announced cheaper LPG and ten per cent reduction in electricity duty if the party was voted to power.
|Captain Amarinder Singh promised free travel for students, police officials, exservicemen, paramilitary force personnel and senior citizens in the state transport buses.|
Captain Amarinder Singh also promised free travel for students, police officials, exservicemen, paramilitary force personnel and senior citizens in the state transport buses.
AAP, which has released different poll manifestoes for different categories of voters, is fuming as Akali Dal and Congress extend their manifestoes and has termed the move "misleading and meaningless". AAP state convener Gurpreet Singh Waraich said, “Captain Amarinder Singh, during his five-year rule, had even discontinued free power scheme for farmers and hiked the power tariff for other categories on the plea that previous SAD-BJP government had left the empty coffers. Rates of petrol, LPG and other commodities will be the same as in all the states after GST is implemented,” Waraich added that Singh was maintaining a conspicuous silence over the multi-billion scam in the purchase of power from private companies by the Badal family.
He said Sukhbir Badal had forced PSPCL to sign infeasible agreements with private thermal plants to buy power from them at fixed minimum rates at the cost of public exchequer. He said the government-owned thermal plants were shut to help private thermal plants.
“While drafting their manifesto, the Congress had paid no heed to the welfare of ex-servicemen, police and paramilitary personnel. Singh has woken up now, after personnel of armed forces decided not to support the Congress and SAD in the February 4 elections.” Wariach also said that many Congress leaders are running the transport business and it would be foolish to expect Singh to reduce the passenger transport tariff.
He also accused Congress and SAD of being in agreement to rule by turn and loot the people.
(Courtesy of Mail Today.)