Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday asked Punjab's ruling Akali Dal-BJP alliance to explain as to whether development in the last five years meant adding seven lakh more poor families to the 13 lakh existing in the State.
Ms. Gandhi described the incumbent regime as the “most inefficient.” During its tenure the State witnessed total decline on all fronts, she alleged.
The Congress chief was addressing an election rally at Kapurthala after inclement weather forced her to abandon her visit to Moga.
She charged the State government with failing to utilise more than Rs. 526 crore of the Rs. 5000 crore grant provided to it under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
“Is this the development you are talking about?” she said. The government had “destroyed and devastated” the State and it would a take long time for revival. The “so-called development” was reflected in government schools and hospitals that were in a pitiable condition. This was because the State government neither had any intent nor any resources to improve these institutions that were meant for poor people.
“It is in your hands whether you want Punjab to progress under a Congress government or you let it decline further under Akali Dal-BJP alliance,” she said.
Terming the present ruling alliance “purely opportunistic,” she alleged that they were together just to stick to power. Instead of looking into their own failures, the government was attempting to shift the blame on the Centre, which had always been liberal and generous with sanctioning development grants.
Referring to the aata-daal scheme of the State government, Ms. Gandhi said that it was 100 per cent financed by the Centre. “This government cannot do a single thing on its own as it had no money and for every activity, including development projects, they are totally dependent on the Government of India funding.”
Referring to Kapurthala's historic importance, she said it had a long history spanning over 1100 years. She recalled that Guru Nanak had prayed for 14 years, got enlightenment to lead and guide the entire humanity at the place where now stands Gurdwara Beri Sahib near the rally site.
Among others present on the occasion were president of the State unit of the party Amarinder Singh, AICC in-charge of Punjab Thakur Gulchain Singh Charak, AICC general secretary B.K. Hariprasad and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.