Amarinder lays out new govt’s roadmap for Punjab; industries, health, education top priorities.
Chandigarh: Punjab Congress president Capt. Amarinder Singh said he was fully committed to implementing the promise of loan-waiver to farmers, which was one of his party’s key campaign planks in the Assembly elections in the state in which it won 77 out of 159 seats. Capt. Singh said he would ensure that adequate funds are raised for the same.
He assured the people of Punjab of early execution of all election promises, including the elimination of the drug menace, which he said would be wiped out within four weeks through the establishment of a special task force. He underlined the importance of setting up more rehabilitation and deaddiction centres, as well as appointment of more psychiatrists, to tackle the drugs problem.
On his promise of revival of industries, he said the industrial policy of the state would be liberalised to check the flight of industries and make Pun-jab an attractive destination for them. He added that several leading industrialists had been in touch with him and showed interest in investing in Punjab.
Global tenders would soon be floated to procure smartphones, as promised under the Captain Smart Connect programme launched ahead of the polls, he said in response to a question. He also emphasised the importance of improving the state’s health and education systems on priority basis.
On the way forward on the SYL issue, the PPCC chief stressed the need to first ascertain the quantum of water available to the state. Asserting that the very premise of the formation of Haryana in 1966 under the Punjab Reorganisation Act, with its lopsided distribution of water, needed to be challenged, Captain Singh said his government would work on this.
To a question on Navjot Singh Sidhu’s role in the new Congress dispensation in Punjab, Capt. Singh said the decision in this matter rested with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Calling for a bigger role for regional leaders in states, he termed the absence of a regional face as one of reasons for the drubbing received by the AAP in the Punjab Assembly polls.
Talking to the media here on Sunday, a day after the Congress recorded a landslide victory in the state, a relaxed Capt. Singh said it was important to promote regional leaders in order to counter other regional parties in states. It was vital, he said, to project a regional face that could identify with the people of the region.
Capt. Singh ruled out any vendetta politics by his government, saying proper investigations would be conducted to pin responsibility in drugs and other crimes, and suitable action will be taken against those found guilty.
Reacting to the poll outcome in Punjab, the Congress chief ministerial candidate dismissed the AAP hype in the run-up to the Punjab elections as nothing more than a social media creation.
To a question on the UP poll results, Capt. Singh revealed that he had spoken to Priyanka Gandhi on Saturday night, and they had discussed that the Congress had a chance of a comeback in the politically crucial state, just as it had come back in Punjab this time.
He added that the Congress’ winning performance in three of the five states that went to polls showed that the party’s overall standing had improved.
Optimistic about getting the BJP-led Central government’s support in taking forward the Punjab development agenda, Captain Singh recalled that he had faced no problems in working with former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during his previous chief ministerial tenure. The PPCC president said he would be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon to discuss various development projects for the state.