Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday accused the previous governments of pushing the state into a debt trap and said the AAP dispensation will enquire where the money was used and make recovery.
”Previous governments have left a debt of Rs 3 lakh crore on Punjab. But where has this been used? We will investigate and make recovery because it is people’s money,” a tweet in Punjabi from the party’s state unit said while quoting the chief minister.
In the run up to the Punjab Assembly polls in February, AAP leaders had targeted successive governments in the state for allegedly pushing the state into a debt trap.
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) said it welcomes Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann’s decision ”to order a probe into the Rs 3 lakh crore debt acquisition by Punjab”.
However, SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema said the inquiry should not be used as a garb to run away from the promises which AAP made to people before the assembly polls. ”We are all for a free and fair probe into the Rs 3 lakh crore debt accumulated by the state but this probe should not be used as an excuse to run away or delay fulfilling the promises made to the people by AAP at the time of polls,” Cheema said.
He claimed the previous Congress government had used the excuse of empty treasury to renege on all promises made to people. ”Despite knowing the reality of the financial position of the state before taking over the reins of the state, Chief Minister Mann has now come up with an excuse to probe the reasons behind this position. ”The SAD feels the probe should not come in the way of fulfilling the government promise to distribute Rs 1,000 to all women in the state besides ensuring 300 units of free power per month to all domestic consumers immediately,” Cheema said, as per party statement. Cheema also said the chief minister should also order an inquiry into the advertisements released by the state during the last one month in office.
”As per reports, taxpayer’s money is being used to spread the propaganda of AAP across the country. Advertisements are being released in regional languages by the AAP government to project its alleged achievements in south India and even poll bound States like Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh,” he said. ”Crores of rupees have been spent for this purpose which does not benefit Punjab or Punjabis in any manner whatsoever,” he said.
Ahead of the polls, senior AAP leader Raghav Chadha had accused the previous Akali-BJP and the then Congress government in Punjab of pushing the state into debt. Every child born in Punjab has a debt of Rs one lakh on his or her head, Chadha had then claimed.
The Congress and the Badal governments have made Punjab a debtor of Rs 3 lakh crore in the last 50 years. With a population of three crore, today every individual in Punjab has a debt of Rs 1 lakh, Chadha had said. AAP wrested power from the Congress in Punjab by winning 92 of the 117 Assembly seats.