The Election Commission is yet to announce the Assembly elections but Punjab is already in election mode. Facing a nearly decade-long local anti-incumbency, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal is out to woo voters.
Besides announcing freebies like free power, free pilgrimage, free atta-dal scheme and free bicycles for girl students, the Badals are on an inauguration spree.
But, interestingly, they are inaugurating incomplete projects as the Election Commission may soon enforce the model code of conduct.
Rs 10 crore amphibian bus inundates crops on 500 acre
The amphibian bus, which was inaugurated and launched on Monday by spending a whopping Rs 10 crore, has been grounded due to technical and demographic reasons.
Sources said the Harike Pattan Lake in Ferozepur, where the bus was set to sail, lacked adequate water. The authorities got additional water released from Bhakra Dam to facilitate the inauguration but this damaged standing crops on nearly 500 acre.
The lake acquires the requisite water level during March when the snow starts melting, but waiting that long may have delayed the inauguration for the SAD. Thus, for the 10-minute inauguration ride, they chose to fill the lake and damage crops.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal lays foundation stone without obtaining NOC
Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal's wife and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur on Tuesday laid the foundation stone of a Rs 50 crore bus terminus, for which an NOC was not obtained from various state and central government departments.
Sources said the Army cantonment authorities had objected to the project due to security reasons but the minister laid the foundation stone within seven minutes and left.
|The Badal father and son. (Photo: India Today)|
Heritage Street is still incomplete
The 800 metre Heritage Street (walkway) from Amritsar's Town Hall to the Golden Temple was also inaugurated hurriedly on October 24. Work is still going on in parts of Amritsar city where roads and pavers were laid hurriedly.
Former SAD-BJP minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla has criticised the Badals for fooling people in the name of heritage and had said that more than 5,000 people were uprooted from the vicinity of the Golden Temple to make buildings and roads.
Incomplete highway inaugurated
The 209 KM Bathinda-Zirakpur NH-7 is still under construction but Sukhbir Badal on November 29 inaugurated a 41.4km stretch of the road. Of course, it was done in a hurry keeping in view the assembly polls.
Senior Badal inaugurates incomplete war memorial
Earlier, on October 23, CM Parkash Singh Badal inaugurated an under-construction Rs 130 crore Punjab State War Heroes Memorial and Museum in Amritsar. The inauguration was undertaken to woo armed personnel ahead of the 2017 polls.
In July this year, the CM also inaugurated the under-construction Bhagat Namdev College in Ghuman Gurdaspur.
The opposition Congress has criticised the Badals for inaugurating incomplete projects for political gain. Terming it as a cheap gimmick, leader of the opposition Charanjit Singh Channi said "the examples of incomplete projects and their hasty inauguration or foundation stones clearly show the Badals are worried about winning".