Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 9
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today unveiled the Congress’ please-all manifesto for poll-bound Punjab, saying the state badly needed Capt Amarinder Singh’s leadership to realise its full potential.
In an attack on the Akali-BJP combine that has ruled the state for 10 years, Manmohan Singh said the incumbents had been misusing governance tools throughout their regime.
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Speaking at the Congress headquarters in the presence of Capt Amarinder, party’s state incharge Asha Kumari, campaign panel chief Ambika Soni and Punjab manifesto committee chairperson Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Manmohan Singh described the manifesto as a “forward-looking, visionary document” that held a promise to undo the damages inflicted by the ruling combine in the state.
“Punjab is a state with potential, but this potential has not been utilised in the past 10 years. The people of Punjab need a better tomorrow in terms of agriculture and manufacturing services. Captain Sahib’s leadership is badly needed by the state,” said the ex-PM.
Capt Amarinder detailed the manifesto promises, including ambitious targets of “sealing drug supply, consumption and distribution within four weeks of coming to power; one job per household; free education for girls of weaker sections from KG to PhD; free houses to homeless Dalits; farm loan waiver worth Rs 67,000 crore and Re 1 as cess per bottle of alcohol to serve Congress’ socialist agenda”.
“We took six months to prepare the manifesto. We have gone through villages and reached out to the people. In Punjab, we have a huge budget deficit. To tide over this, we have come out with programmes for people from every walk of life. The rural debt is Rs 67,000 crore. We will negotiate with banks to ensure that farmers don’t have to pay that money, although this is something the Centre should have done,” Capt Amarinder said. He promised to continue free power to farmers and assured free houses to homeless Dalits.
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