New Delhi: Out of power in Punjab for 10 years, the Congress on Monday promised a host of freebies like farm loan waiver and free power, smartphones, textbooks and doles to unemployed youth in the election manifesto for the State released by the former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, on Monday.
Dr. Singh charged the Akali-BJP government with “misusing” governance in the last 10 years. He said Capt. Amarinder Singh’s leadership is “badly needed” in the State.
“The challenge before Punjab is to rise above all this din and recognise that the people of Punjab need a better tomorrow. This election manifesto is a forward-looking visionary document, which promises the people that we will undo the damage done to the Punjab economy by the State government in the last 10 years,” he said.
Dr. Singh said Capt. Amarinder was a leader of great vision who has a wealth of experience and commitment to the cause of development in the State.
Punjab’s fiscal situation had been bad under the Akalis as the State had inflicted great damage on the economy and polity of Punjab being a victim of terrorism.
“Amarinder’s government will undo all this damage and set a new pathway for a better tomorrow which will see that people will have. A higher per capita Income, better distribution of Income, better employment prospects and better infrastructure,” Dr. Singh said.
The manifesto promises loan waiver and free power to farmers, the wiping out of drug trade within a month, stipend of Rs. 2,500 a month to unemployed youth, free smartphones to youth and free textbooks to all children.
Capt. Amarinder Singh announced that the State would generate as many as 25 lakh jobs within the next five years so as to provide employment to all youth in the State.
He also promised to crackdown on drugs and corruption, and bring a new industrial policy within 90 days, besides promising an end to the VIP culture, bring sweeping economic reforms and total transparency in governance. He also promised free houses to homeless Dalits/SCs/OBCs and one job in every family.
He lamented that the growth rate of Punjab was down at 5.6 per cent, against the national average of 7.3 per cent, and that the State had slid from number one position to number 19 under the Akalis. “We are in a very bad shape,” he said.
On the contentious SYL Canal issue, he insisted there was no additional water in Punjab and that when the Assembly convens law would be passed for not sharing any of the State’s waters.
“We are not for not giving. But, we don’t have it [to share],” he said when asked about it.
Asked specifically if Capt. Amarinder was the chief ministerial candidate, AICC Secretary in charge Asha Kumari said, “He is officially president, who is leading the party in the polls.” (PTI)