Taking an indirect swipe at Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday hit out at politicians who offer “lollipops” just ahead of polls, in an apparent attack on his own party-led government in the state, and urged people to vote only on the agenda of Punjab’s welfare.
His remarks came on the day Channi announced slashing of the power tariff by Rs 3 per unit for the domestic sector and increasing the dearness allowance for government employees.
Addressing a gathering of the Hindu Mahasabha here, Sidhu wondered if anybody would talk about the welfare of the state. “They (politicians) offer lollipops…this is free, that is free, which happened in the last two months,” he said.
The cricketer-turned-politician asked people to question those politicians as regards how would they fulfil such promises. Stressing on a roadmap for the revival and welfare of the state, he asked people to cast their votes on the agenda of development, not for “lollipops”.
“There should be a question in your mind whether the intention is only government formation or coming to power after speaking lies, making 500 promises or the welfare of the state,” Sidhu said. He said politics has become a profession and it is no longer a mission.
“It is my objective to bring back people’s trust, which has faded away from a politician,” the Congress leader said while pointing out that parents do not want their children to become politicians these days. He said he would die but never sell Punjab’s interests.
Sidhu said Punjab had an outstanding debt of Rs 5 lakh crore and blamed the governments that ruled the state over the last 25-30 years for this. Municipal committees and government rest houses were mortgaged, he said, adding that this debt is to be paid by the people of the state.
“Wherever there is talk of compromise, Sidhu throws away the post so that your trust is not broken. For me, it is a ‘dharm yudh’ (battle of principles) and I cannot be defeated in this ‘dharm yudh’, I know this,” he said. The Congress leader also took on those who say the state’s coffers are filled.
“If that is the situation, then give Rs 50,000 as salary to the ETT (Elementary Teacher Training) teachers and give it (the money) to the contractual teachers,” he said.