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Posted at: Mar 19, 2017, 12:02 AM; last updated: Mar 19, 2017, 12:02 AM (IST)

It is time to deliver on promises, say opposition leaders

Vishav Bharti in Chandigarh
It is time to deliver on promises, say opposition leaders
The SYL stalemate is among key concern areas for the Congress government in Punjab. Photo: Manoj Mahajan
If Captain Amarinder Singh’s first innings as chief minister of Punjab is remembered for sending the Badals to jail, an anti-corruption drive and a bold stand on SYL issue, the second innings that started three days back will be defined by how he deals with bad financial health of the state, SYL controversy, unemployment and his ‘famous’ coterie.

New state finance minister Manpreet Badal has already said that the government has inherited a financial mess from the SAD-BJP government. The state has a debt burden of Rs 1.7 lakh crore. So, it’d appear the next five years are not going to be smooth.

The Akali Dal dismisses his allegation. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, SAD general secretary, says every new government claims that their predecessor left nothing for them. “The Congress is doing the same. We started development works at a mega scale across the state. Would it have been possible without having a sound financial health?” he asks.

He says that everybody thinks that the present government will continue with the development work and fulfill the promises they have made to the people. “We do hope that Amarinder would not resort to vendetta politics against the Akalis or BJP workers.” 

AAP’s HS Phoolka, who is also leader of the opposition in the Assembly, met the new Chief Minister on Friday and promised to play a constructive role. “We expect them to protect Punjab’s interests in the SYL, end drug menace within four weeks and give a job to each household. Amarinder Singh must remember that his party has been given a thumping mandate. If they treat it as an election jumla as the BJP does, then AAP will hit the roads,” he said.

AAP thinks that the coterie around the Captain is the key troublemaker. “The Captain is a well meaning man, but the problem is his coterie. I have seen him for two decades being surrounded by the same set of people. They never allow him to see the real picture,” says Sukhpal Khaira, AAP’s chief whip. “The CM must first throw out the corrupt if he wants government to function.”

The BJP says the party will wait and watch. “At this moment, we are hopeful that the new government will continue the welfare schemes started by our government,” says Madan Mohan Mittal, former cabinet minister.

For Communist Party of India, the biggest concern is promises made by the Congress in its manifesto. “It is time to deliver on Rs 2500 allowance promised to the unemployed youth. The countdown has begun for making Punjab drugs-free within four weeks and for employment in each house,” says Hardev Singh Arshi, state CPI secretary.

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