PM promises reforms in education, healthcare
Ambala Cantt, January 31
Addressing an impressive election rally at Gandhi ground here and later in Hisar, the Prime Minister not only condemned the present Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) for its total failure on all fronts but also made veiled attacks on the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) without naming it.
There was a commotion when a big group of supporters of the District Congress Committee chief, Ch Nirmal Singh, started hooting and jeering Ch Bhajan Lal, President, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, during his address of welcome. Though the turnout was massive, the enthusiasm of the crowd, witnessed during Narwana rally addressed by Mrs Sonia Gandhi on Saturday, was missing.
All Congress candidates from Ambala and Yamunanagar — Mr Venod Sharma (Ambala City), Mr Devinder Kumar Bansal (Ambala Cantt), Mr Nirmal Singh (Naggal), Mr Phul Chand (Mullana), Dr Krishna Pandit (Yamunanagar) and Mr Subash Chand (Jagadhri) — were introduced to the audience by the Prime Minister.
A former Speaker of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, Mr Tara Singh, a former Punjab MP, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, were among those who greeted Dr Manmohan Singh on his arrival at the venue of the rally which had a large presence of the Sikh community.
Interestingly, Dr Manmohan Singh in his 18-minute speech focussed on issues facing Haryana and held that the state urgently needed reforms in its education system in general and universities in particular besides improving health care delivery system. Dr Manmohan Singh did try to woo youth by dedicating a major portion of his address on education and employment.
Advocating for cordial centre-state relations, he said that a transparent and a people friendly Congress government would work in tandem with the Central Government to usher in an era of socio-economic development in the state.
Stressing the need for a second green revolution, he said Haryana had to improve its productivity, both in agriculture and industrial sector for a solution to the gigantic problem of unemployment.
Eulogizing the Nehru-Gandhi family for its patriotism, commitment and sacrifices, the Prime Minister said Haryana had always remained dear to Mrs Sonia Gandhi. “She wants this state to be back on the road to progress and development and become number one province in the country. That will be possible only if you strengthen her hands and vote the Congress to power. If the Congress is strong, the country is strong and if the Congress is weakened, the country is weakened.”
Criticising the present state government, he said that there was rampant corruption, total lawlessness and growing problems of poverty and unemployment. Though a number of new educational institutions had come up but the quality of education had deteriorated.
“We will honestly work to make all universities centers of excellence. The present government has appointed Vice-Chancellors who have little or knowledge of academics. This situation has to be ratified. Quality of education in schools, colleges and universities has to improve.
“Our government will try to set up a training centre where youth aspiring to go out, including abroad, will be given proper training,” he said.
Dr Manmohan Singh said the scientific instruments industry of Ambala had a long way to go. A lot needed to be done to bring Ambala on the industrial map of the country. And it was only industrialisation which could help solve the problem of unemployment.
Haryana was basically an agricultural state where small farmers needed quality seeds, good quality power supply and loans at appropriate rate of interest. Loan disbursement system would be made hassle free.
The Congress, he said, was the only party which looked after the interests of each and every section of society. The party had always championed the cause of dalits, backward classes, weaker sections of society, women and children.
“The Congress has always tried to unite the people. But there are certain forces who are trying to divide and disintegrate the country. Now is the time to defeat such forces by giving the Congress a clear mandate,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the power sector needed big improvements. Promises made in the election manifesto would be honoured.
Earlier, Ch Bhajan Lal in his address of welcome said the Chautala government was on its way out. Ch Nirmal Singh said that inspite of its rich history and heritage, Ambala had remained ignored as it did not have much of industry or sufficient employment avenues for its youth.
Mr Venod Sharma said Ambala had always stood by the Congress in all electoral battles. Kumari Selja said while there was rapid industrialisation in neighbouring Himachal and Punjab, Ambala had been left behind.
After the rally, Dr Manmohan Singh had a quiet lunch with select senior Congress leaders where he assured Mr Venod Sharma that work on improving civic amenities in Ambala would be taken on priority by the new Congress government in the state.