Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday targeted former chief ministers Parkash Singh Badal and Amarinder Singh for allegedly “looting” the state over the last 25 years.
He blamed the previous governments led by Mr Badal and Mr Singh for leaving the state with a heavy debt burden.
“For 25 years, two chief ministers looted Punjab,” said Mr Sidhu while addressing a gathering in Sanaur.
“They (Parkash Singh Badal, Amarinder Singh) left the state in such a situation that the youth do not want to stay here,” he alleged, referring to youngsters’ preference to go abroad.
The Congress leader said Punjab is carrying a heavy debt burden.
The state does not generate enough revenue to be able to meet its total expenditure of Rs 1.40 lakh crore. It pays Rs 30,000 crore as interest on debt, he claimed.
Mr Sidhu said the GST compensation from the Centre will stop in June next year and this will add to the state’s fiscal deficit.
He also stressed the need to empower panchayats in the state and said it can be done with the implementation of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment that was aimed at allowing gram panchayats to operate as self-governance units.
Mr Sidhu said his Punjab model of governance will implement the 73rd Constitutional Amendment to give powers to sarpanches.
Without the approval of panchayat secretaries, village heads have no power to work for the welfare of villages, he rued.
Later, Mr Sidhu raised the issue in a series of tweets.
“Punjab Model will revive legendary vision of Shri Rajiv Gandhi Ji empowering the panchayats … Freeing them from clutches of officers, decentralising power, giving resources back to the people by ensuring self reliance of villages. This is the base of our pyramid of democracy,” he said.
The Congress leader said, “Punjab Model will implement 73rd constitutional amendment brought by Congress to fulfil Rajiv Gandhi Ji’s vision to strengthen base of democracy by Panchayati Swaraj … 12581 Panchayats will be given all 170 powers to work & 12 powers to levy tax, which they currently don’t have!”