Days after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) promised to pay a monthly sum of ₹1,000 to adult women folks in Punjab if voted to power, the ruling Congress party on Monday played its card to garner the support of women voters by promising to pay ₹2,000 per month to housewives, if the party assumed power in the State.
The announcement was made by Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu at a rally in Punjab’s Barnala district and the AAP was quick to take a dig at the Congress president and terming Mr. Sidhu “a person with no stand”.
At the rally, Mr. Sidhu said ₹2,000 per month will be provided to the womenfolks of Punjab who are housewives. “It is important that their (women) hard work be recognised. They will also be provided with home-based, kitchen-based business opportunities and interest free loans upto ₹2,00,000 (Rupees Two Lakh) to run them. Further, they will also be provided with 8 (eight) gas cylinders per year to keep their kitchen running under all circumstances,” he said. He added women empowerment is the center of the country’s narrative and it is important to help our women of Punjab to achieve their full potential by giving them visibility, representation and power. “Giving women freebies like AAP, will not empower them in this community,” he said, adding that “Unlike AAP, the Punjab Model under the aegis of Punjab Congress Committee intends to work towards cohesive growth and not isolated self-serving short term agendas.”
Offering a slew of freebies in an attempt to garner women's support and form the next government in the State, Mr. Sidhu announced that to battle the high dropout rates of girls from school, it is proposed that female students will be rewarded with ₹5,000 on completion of class V whereas ₹10,000 on completion of class VIII. “On completion of Class X, ₹15000 along with digital tablet will be provided to female students for digital education and finally on completion of class XII, ₹20,000 shall be rewarded to her. However, to keep them motivated and continuing their education, EV scooty subsidies will be launched so that the women can travel safely and independently on long distances to colleges and universities across districts and villages with ease under the Punjab model,” he said.
As Mr. Sidhu advanced ‘freebies’ to lure voters ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections, Raghav Chadha, AAP leader and co-in-charge Punjab affairs, called Mr. Sidhu a person without a stand.
Sharing a video of Mr. Sidhu on Twitter, Mr. Chadha said, “There is a saying in Punjab that ‘even a bicycle has a stand, but Sidhu has no stand’.” In the first part of video, Mr. Sidhu is seen critical of Arvind Kejriwal's announcement of giving ₹1000 to all women above 18 years of age in Punjab. And, in the second part, Mr. Sidhu (today) himself is making an announcement to give ₹2000 monthly and eight LPG gas cylinders free of cost to the domestic women of Punjab.
He accused Mr. Sidhu and the Congress of copying the announcements of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.