Punjab: Sidhu writes to Sonia Gandhi, highlights 13 poll issues
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu has written a letter to interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, highlighting 13 key issues for the poll-bound state. Seeking a personal meeting with Gandhi, Sidhu said that this is "Punjab's last chance for resurrection and redemption." Notably, the letter dated October 15 was posted on his Twitter account on Sunday. Here are more details.
What were the issues highlighted by Sidhu?
The 13 issues highlighted by Sidhu include justice in sacrilege cases, Punjab's drugs menace, agricultural issues, employment opportunities, sand mining, the welfare of backward classes, among others. Sidhu also demanded action against Cable Mafias in Punjab, 24-hour electricity, filling up government posts on a regular basis, improvement of public transport, state monopoly in the liquor business, and women and youth empowerment.
Sidhu calls for more revenue sources for Punjab
Advocating state monopoly in the liquor business, Sidhu said liquor trade must be brought under a state-run corporation like Tamil Nadu. Sidhu claims this will provide the state government with Rs. 20,000 crore more revenue along with thousands of jobs. On sand mining, Sidhu says Punjab has the potential of earning Rs. 2,000 crore, "while providing cheap sand to consumers at a fixed rate."
What did Sidhu say on other issues?
In his letter, Sidhu demanded that "big fish" in the drug business should be "arrested and given exemplary punishment." On the employment front, Sidhu highlighted that at least 20 employee unions are already protesting against the contractual system in Punjab. "We must take their demands under compassionate consideration," he said. On youth empowerment, Sidhu stressed "enhancing infrastructure on sports, skill development, and start-up culture."
Cabinet should have Ministers from Majhbhi Sikh, Doaba Dalit: Sidhu
Talking about the welfare of scheduled and backward castes, Sidhu further said that the Cabinet should have a Majhbhi Sikh, a Dalit from Doaba, and two backward class Ministers. He also demanded a package of Rs. 25 crore for the development of reserved constituencies.
You can read Sidhu's complete letter here
BJP-ruled Centre discriminates against Punjab, alleges Sidhu
Referring to Punjab, Sidhu lamented that India's "richest" state is now "the most indebted state." "Punjab is submerged under lakhs of crores of debt due to gross financial mismanagement over the last 25 years." Cornering the BJP, Sidhu said the Centre has further "supplemented" the issue by "discriminating against Punjab while paying its financial dues such as GST payments, Rural Development Fund, etc."
'Mafia Raj may lead Punjab to financial emergency'
Sidhu also noted, "It might be the last damage control exercise or else, Mafia Raj ruling the state patronized by the Badals will take the state to the extent of financial emergency, joblessness, corruption, and agrarian crisis, from which, there will be no return."
Sidhu met Rahul Gandhi earlier this week
Notably, Sidhu had resigned from the post of Punjab Congress chief in September over some differences with the newly appointed Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi. However, he reportedly agreed to continue serving the role after meeting Congress leader Rahul Gandhi earlier this week. After the meeting, Congress' Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat said that Sidhu has been "assured" that his concerns will be addressed.