Promising to fulfill all the 2017 poll commitments before going back to the people in the 2022 Assembly elections, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday said the Congress has no rival in the state, as neither the Akalis nor the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) offer any competition.
Vowing to “finish what we have started”, he assured Punjab’s people that his government will leave no stone unturned to fulfill every promise that the Congress made in the 2017 polls.
More than 85 per cent of manifesto promises had already been implemented, he said out, adding that it was a record for any party in any state, and the previous record was held by Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh for 81 per cent promises fulfilled.
Listing his government’s biggest achievement as the maintenance of Punjabiyat in the state, which had witnessed no communal tension or trouble, Amarinder Singh said people want an environment where they can conduct their work or business in peace.
“People will see our performance and management,” he said, responding to questions at a media conference to mark four years of his government.
To questions about the promises of debt waiver for all farmers and Rs 2,500 a month to all unemployed youth, the Chief Minister said the fiscal constraints in the state, especially due to the unprecedented Covid situation, had pushed back his government in implementing some of the promises.
But with revenue increasing, these would be fulfilled as soon as feasible, he said, reiterating that he was committed to the implementation of all promises before the next polls.
Already 5.64 lakh farmers had been relieved of their debts and currently farm labourers were benefitting from the waiver policy, he said. The Chief Minister further said all proposals made in the budget were based on realistic assumptions.
Asked about Navjot Singh Sidhu’s “rehabilitation”, the Chief Minister said “everyone wants him to be part of our team.”
He was hopeful that Sidhu, whom he had known since the latter was a kid and with whom he had a very cordial meeting even on Wednesday, would soon take a decision on joining back.
He would also be happy to have Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Dhullo as part of the team, he said, adding that while everyone has their own ambitions, it is up to the Congress President to decide.
“In a difficult hour, you have to set aside your own ambitions and stand with the party,” he said.
To a question on him leading the Congress and being its CM face in 2022, Amarinder Singh said it was for the party chief to decide.
Asked about Prashant Kishor’s appointment, the Chief Minister responded that in a democracy every leader and party has a team of strategists.
Replying to a question on EVMs versus ballot papers, he said he was among the first to oppose electronic voting machines as they can be fudged, which he had even proved to the Election Commission at one time.
He pointed out that advanced countries like Japan, Sweden and the UK were not using EVMs.