Other States

Will fight for Punjab’s autonomy within the Union: PDA

Dharamvira Gandhi  

With a focus on Punjab-centric issues, the Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA) is all set to take on mainstream parties as it aims to fight for a “genuine federal system” with more powers and autonomy to the States.

PDA – the coalition of Bahujan Samaj Party, Punjabi Ekta Party, Lok Insaaf Party, Nawan Punjab Party, Communist Party of India (CPI), Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI) and Marxist Communist Party of India (U) have announced a common minimum programme (CMP) for the 2019 Parliamentary polls as the alliance prepares to contest all the 13 Lok Sabha seats, which go for polls on May 19.

“The alliance has been forged to liberate Punjab from the clutches of traditional parties such as the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal SAD, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), etc., that have ruined the State in turns for the past many decades. We aspire for a federal and democratic India as an alternative to the conventional political parties monopolising the power and resources of Punjab,” Dharamvira Gandhi, the suspended Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Member of Parliament from Patiala, who has recently floated Nawan Punjab Party, told The Hindu.

“We want autonomy to States within the Indian Union. The entire resources and wealth generation is within the States. Yet they are beggars and the Centre is in a stronger position. This needs to be changed,” said Mr. Gandhi.

Unkept promises

Hitting out at the successive governments in Punjab, Mr. Gandhi said in Punjab - farmers, labourers, dalits or small business persons - all are suffering due to the indifferent attitude and wrong policies of the State as well as the Centre.

“The youth is shattered by unemployment and is running abroad or taking recourse to drugs. Promises by the ruling Congress of waiving of farmers’ loans, jobs for each family and the oath of eliminating drugs in four weeks have all evaporated,” said Mr. Gandhi.

Pointing out that PDA stands committed on issue-based, clean and accountable politics, Mr. Gandhi said through its CMP, the PDA would fight for the long- pending demands of Punjab - be it the river waters issue, territorial disputes, rightful claim to the capital city of Chandigarh - and a true federal system with more powers and autonomy to the states.

“We will also fight for complete waiving of farmers’/agricultural workers’ loans and getting the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission implemented,” said Mr. Gandhi.

‘Addicts as patients’

He added to tackle the drugs menace, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act needs to be tweaked. “Thousands of drug addicts are in jails while the big-fish, who control the drug trade are wandering free because they enjoy political patronage. The alliance demands to treat addicts as patients and extend them free treatment, and deal firmly with the drug mafia,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 3:04:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/will-fight-for-punjabs-autonomy-within-the-union-pda/article26695687.ece

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