KAPURTHALA, January 19: Congress President Ms Sonia Gandhi today asked the Akali-BJP government in the state to explain what development it had carried out in the state during the last five years and whether adding seven lakh more poor families to 13 lakh already existing in the state meant development for them. She said, this government had proved to be most inefficient one as Punjab had seen total decline on all fronts during the last five years.
Lashing out at the non-performance and poor governance by the Akali-BJP alliance in Punjab while addressing a mammoth rally here today, Ms Gandhi revealed that the state government had failed to utilize the Rs 5000 crore grant provided to it under MNERGA. She disclosed that the state government had proved to be so inefficient that it could spend just Rs 526 crores of Rs 5000 while letting the remaining money unutilized.
The Congress President said, instead of looking into their own failures, they were trying to put the blame on the central government which has always been liberal and generous with sanctioning grants to the state including Punjab for the purpose of development.
Referring to the aata-daal scheme of the state government, Ms Gandhi said, it was 100 per cent financed by the government of India and still the Akali-BJP government in Punjab was trying to claim credit for it. She said, this government cannot do a single thing of its own as it had no money and every activity leave apart development projects were totally dependent on the government of India funding.
Questioning the claims of development of the Akali-BJP government she asked, if it were so how come that seven lakh more families in Punjab became poor during these five years. “Is this the development you are talking about?” she asked, while adding this government had destroyed and devastated Punjab and it will take long time to retrieve it.
Referring to poor state of affairs in the government schools and hospitals, Ms Gandhi pointed out, their so called development is reflected in government schools and hospitals which are in a pitiable condition. This is because they had neither any intent nor any resources to improve these institutions which are meant for poor people.
Making a fervent appeal to the people of the state, she said, now is the time to change the government in the interest of Punjab. “It is in your hands whether you want Punjab to progress under a Congress government or you let it decline further under Akali-BJP alliance”, she said to a thundering applause of approval and acceptance of her appeal by tens of thousands of people.
Terming the Akali-BJP alliance as purely opportunistic, Ms Gandhi pointed out, they were together just to stick to power and everybody has seen during last five years how they acted and behaved. They have no commitment towards development of the state but only one purpose to stick to power, she said.
Expressing her gratitude to the tens of thousands of people who were waiting for her since morning in this biting cold, she said, she was thankful to them for having come and waited that long. She told them now it was in their hands to change the destiny of Punjab for better.
Referring to Kapurthala’s historic importance, Ms Gandhi said, it had a long history spanning over 1100 years. More than that, she added, this place was divine as it was at Gurdwara Beri Sahib near here that Guru Nanak Dev Ji prayed for 14 years and got enlightenment to lead and guide the entire humanity. She said, she bowed to the sacredness and holiness of this land.
Earlier welcoming Ms Gandhi for her visit to Punjab, the PCC President Capt Amarinder expressed his gratitude to her for coming to Kapurthala despite such a bad weather. He said, it was her keenness to visit Punjab that she insisted on flying. He said, the Congress rank and file was feeling encouraged and their morale had been boosted by her visit to the state. He promised that the Congress leadership will deliver the state to the party after winning elections here.
Among others present on the occasion included party in-charge for Punjab Thakur Gulchain Singh Charak, Congress general secretary Mr BK Hariprasad, Congress Legislative Party Leader Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former MP Rana Gurjit, Bholath MLA Sukhpal Khaira and others.