SAD-BJP Government Continues To Take Punjab On A Downward Spiral Halfway In Their New Mandate


CHANDIGARH – After visiting the flood-affected and waterlogged areas of Malwa, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is back in the state capital. In a few weeks, he will turn 88. His unflagging zeal for work even at this age remains an enigma.

His critics say despite the Chief Minister spending so much time in administering the state, the outcome is rather far from satisfactory. They say Punjab, once a leading state, has gone down several notches.

The Badal-led SAD-BJP government is half way through its term. Yet the excitement is missing. The SAD-BJP government has faced no threat so far. But the government, that had a smooth ride during its previous five-year term, has faced several hiccups this term.

On the eve of the Assembly elections, the SAD-BJP alliance had come up with a bagful of promises. However, because of the government’s poor fiscal health, it has been unable to meet all promises. Ten lakh jobs were to be given to the youth, laptops were to be given to students, the state was to be put in the Wi-FI mode, Mohali, Ludhiana and Amritsar were to developed as IT hubs, the jobless were to be given unemployment allowance, small agro units were to be set up in small towns, jobs were to be given to international players, a performance audit was to be introduced to prevent the police from being politicised, free gas connections were to be given to BPL families, pension for the elderly was to raised from Rs 250 to Rs 600 per month and much more. Not even half of these promises have been met.

The Ludhiana Metro was to be made operational in three years. But the project is in a limbo. However, the government has succeeded in making the state self-sufficient in power and in improving the road network, especially in the Malwa belt.

The Badal government faced sustained attacks at the hands of the Opposition on the issue of drugs and lately the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC). Stoutly opposing the HSGMC, the Chief Minister approached the Modi government for help.