Punjab for Punjabis, vows Akali manifesto : The Tribune India

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Punjab for Punjabis, vows Akali manifesto

Puts ‘Panthic principles above politics’ | Seeks transfer of Kartarpur Sahib from Pak through land swap

Punjab for Punjabis, vows Akali manifesto

Senior SAD leaders release the party manifesto in Jalandhar on Saturday. Tribune photo: Malkiat Singh

Tribune News Service

Deepkamal Kaur

Jalandhar, May 18

As Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal on Saturday released its manifesto highlighting its key point that “Panthic principles would stand above politics”, most points on the agenda seemed to be repetitive.

The issues taken up in the manifesto such as including Chandigarh and Punjabi speaking areas in Punjab, cancellation of all settlements on river waters, opening up of border for trade with Pakistan, taking back control of religious bodies, setting up economic zones in Punjab and seeking transfer of Kartarpur Sahib from Pakistan through mutual land exchange have all been taken up earlier too.

Farmer-specific promises

  • Legal guarantee for marketing of farmers’ produce at minimum support price
  • One-time loan waiver for farmers
  • 20% subsidy on diesel for small and marginal farmers
  • Skilled worker status for farmers and farm workers and also bring farm labourers under MNREGA
  • Compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the family of every martyr of the farmers struggle and a government job to one dependent

The manifesto reads that the party would use its mandate to seek transfer of Kartarpur Sahib from Pakistan to India through mutual land exchange between the two countries as was done in Hussainiwala as well as on the West Bengal-Bangladesh border. “We all need to have passports to visit the holy shrine. We intend to move talks so that we get the land till the gurdwara and in exchange we can handover may be even double the total chunk of the land acquired from Pakistan,” he said.

However, eminent historian Jagtar Singh maintains: “Like other points in the manifesto, even this proposal of the SAD is not new. In fact, Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa had floated his proposal to then PM Dr Manmohan Singh citing two previous similar cases of land swapping between the two neighbouring countries. I expected SAD to have done some more work and introspection so as to churn out this document which would have helped in its revival around the election time.”

Focusing on the relatively newer issue of ‘Punjab for Punjabis’, the SAD declared that on getting people’s mandate, it would introduce a law to ensure that jobs in Punjab would be reserved for Punjabi youth only. “At present, not only jobs but even our Rajya Sabha seats are being gifted to outsiders and known Punjab haters. Punjab at the moment is being treated a slave colony for resource exploitation. It is being governed from Delhi and for Delhi,” Badal said as he chose to hit out against the ruling Aam Aadmi Party government in the state.

The SAD also announced to use the people’s mandate to create three special economic hubs by developing Mohali as an IT hub, Malwa belt as textile hub and Amritsar, Harike and areas around Thein Dam as tourism hub.

Delving on SC-related issues, the manifesto sought special SC status for Punjab. “The Akali Dal will seek special allocation for the welfare of SC sections in Punjab. The party will secure clearance of backlog in post-matric scholarship scheme for SC students. It will also ensure immediate restoration of Guru Ravidas Mandir in Tughlakabad, New Delhi,” he said.

It also announced to oppose any move at enforcing uniform civil code. Sukhbir also promised to pursue the ‘one rank one pension’ scheme in the services. The manifesto opposes the Agniveer scheme and favours regular recruitment on comparable pay scales.

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#Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib #Shiromani Akali Dal #Sikhs #Sukhbir Badal

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