Chandigarh: In a bid to project himself as the Congress’s chief ministerial candidate in Punjab, state unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday said the next chief minister of the state would be chosen by the people. Unveiling the first set of plans in his Punjab model focusing on the revival of Punjab, in the absence of Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and his cabinet colleagues, Sidhu told the media here, “The Punjab model is the model of the people and it is the people’s model. Efforts are on to give a roadmap to return power to
To counter the powerful mafia model, which has the power to block notification of a resolution passed by the cabinet, he said a model is needed to redistribute the state’s resources and give back the power to the rightful beneficiaries.
Describing the Punjab model, the cricketer-turned-politician, who often claims his closeness to the Gandhi family – Rahul and Priyanka – has sought to rejuvenate the state’s financial resources and prevent revenue evasion over the next five years. He talked about setting up state-run corporations for liquor, mining, transportation, cable television and river water. He said that if the Congress returns to power in the assembly elections to be held on February 14, then the financial resources of the state will be rejuvenated.
He stressed that his Punjab Model 2022 will not only generate more employment but also generate revenue and prevent revenue evasion.
He clearly said that Punjab is not the property of any person.
Taking a dig at Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Badal, Sidhu said, “Why do Badals have a monopoly in the bus and cable business? In the last five years, the state has suffered a loss of Rs 5,000 crore due to their monopoly. We will break the monopoly. It can also be recovered. Its ultimate aim is to empower the local operators and provide affordable cable to the people.
According to Sidhu, Badal’s Fastway cable network has 70-80 per cent of TV connections in the state and the data it is sharing with the government is less than two-thirds. He said that in 2007, Badal had enacted laws to protect his monopoly.
Sidhu said, similarly there is a need to eliminate the Badal Mafia under the state’s transport policy. Sidhu reiterated that it is important to give back power to the people of Punjab.
He accused Badal and former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh of stalling a law proposed by him that would have ended Fastway’s monopoly, when he was at the helm of the state.
Sidhu, whose party’s government is going to contest re-election, insisted that Punjab today needs a governance reform that turns public issues into policies with a strategy to reduce poverty.
On the issue of mafia in his own government, Sidhu said the Punjab model would have a government-run sand mining corporation in the state, which has a 1,300-km-long river with 102 sites and illegal mining is so huge.
According to him, revived Punjab will run its own liquor shops and distilleries to boost excise revenue.
This will generate revenue for the state government on the lines of Tamil Nadu, he said.
first published:Jan. 11, 2022, 6:52 p.m.