M A I N   N E W S

Revival of economy top priority: Capt
SGPC honours him with ‘siropa’; factionalism in Cong to the fore
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 9
Former Chief Minister and newly appointed PPCC chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said on returning to power, that the Congress would give top priority to revival of the state’s economy which has been in a shambles during the current SAD-BJP regime.

Replying to media queries on subsidy and debt debate here this evening, Amarinder said, “We would not jump the gun like Manpreet Badal. We have already begun the thought process by forming the groups, which will be producing papers on different aspects of the state’s economy. This will then be consolidated into the state’s new economic policy the day we take over the reigns in the state.”

He claimed when they took over the charge last time, the state’s debt was Rs 72,000 crore which they brought down to Rs 48,000 crore. However, the debt has again mounted to Rs 71,000 crore, he added. According to him, at present, the state’s revenue collection stands at Rs 20,000 crore, while an amount of Rs 28,000 crore is going into payment of salaries and debt servicing, forcing the state to borrow Rs 8,000 crore annually.

Taking a dig at ‘stone laying spree’ by the ruling party leaders, he said now that the elections are approaching they are making all sorts of promises which are nothing but ‘bundle of lies’.

On the recent “Who’s Captain?” remark by Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, he said Sukhbir has a short memory and he should not forget that in 2002 also, he (Captain) was the PPCC chief when the SAD-BJP were thrown out of power.

Interestingly, the SGPC today honoured Captain with a ‘siropa’ at its Information Office, which is a significant development as he had been denied the honour after he took over as the CM in 2002, then on December 2, 2004, and again on August 26, 2008, when he visited the city. Earlier, the ex-CM landed in the holy city to a rousing reception from the Congress workers who thronged Guru Ram Das Jee Airport to welcome their leader. The Congress had splashed the entire route from the airport to the Golden Temple with hoarding and banners, congratulating Captain on his appointment.

Standing atop an open vehicle and waving to his supporters, Captain led an impressive convoy comprising a large number of vehicles. It took him around four hours to travel from the airport to the Golden Temple. The crowd and cavalcade of vehicles led to frequent traffic jams in the city, causing inconvenience to the general public.

His cavalcade was stopped at various places in Amritsar where he was garlanded, besides being showered with rose petals by a small aircraft at Chowk Ghantaghar outside the Golden Temple. After paying obeisance at Sri Harmandar Sahib, he also visited Jallianwala Bagh and Durgiana Temple. The party leaders seemed vying with each other putting up shows of strength in their respective areas to catch the eye of their leader.

Senior party leaders OP Soni, Rana Gurjit, Sukhjinder Randhawa, Sukh Sarkaria, Ashwani Sekhri, Jugal Kishore, Darbari Lal, Jasbir Singh Dimpa and Harpartap Singh Ajnala were also present.

However, the divisions in the Congress came to the fore with Gurdaspur MP Partap Singh Bajwa and senior party leader Raj Kumar Verka staying away from the ex-CM’s visit. There were also reports of some Congress leaders having an altercation over the issue of embarking the vehicle on which Captain led the road show. The factionalism was also visible in the ads carried in the newspapers today as the rival groups had given a skip to each other’s photographs and names in their ads welcoming Captain who denied that the party was divided in Majha.





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