Gurdaspur, Jan 24 (ANI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday lashed out at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government in Punjab for not properly utilizing the funds granted by the Centre, and charged it of pushing the state from number one to twelfth position in India.
Addressing an election rally here, Gandhi said: "The duty of the Akali Dal-BJP government here was to take concrete steps to protect against all odds. But it is very sad to say that this government did not do anything to help the people here and adopted a half-blood attitude towards Gurdaspur. In the last five years, the Akali Dal-BJP Government in Punjab has created such a condition that the state, which was at the number one position once upon a time, has now slipped to the 12th position."
Gandhi said the Akali Dal-BJP Government in Punjab has a debt of more than Rs. 65,000 crores.
"They (Akali Dal-BJP Government) have to borrow from the government employees to pay them wages. The policies of this government have delayed the progress of cultivation. The industry business is now moving out of Punjab. Because of unemployment, the youth here are becoming victims of intoxication," said Gandhi.
"The atrocities are on the rise on my sisters (women and girls of Punjab). The condition of the health sector is very poor. The common man does not feel safe anymore because of the deteriorating law and order situation," she added.
Throwing light on the commitment of the Congress towards development in Punjab, Gandhi said: "Congress has paid a lot of attention on Punjab after independence. Dams, canals and powerhouses were first built here. But now, the condition is not the same. There is no electricity for the farmers and the common man. The future of the whole state is in dark."
"The UPA Government under the leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh has come up with a lot of plans to provide support to the common man. These programmes can improve the condition of the lower sections of the society and give them a chance to rejoice," she added.
Sonia Gandhi further said the UPA Government at the Centre has providing monetary assistance without any bias to the various state government for developmental works
"Our government has been providing monetary assistance without any bias to the various state government for developmental works, but the Punjab Government did not pay attention to any such developmental programme. For example, the funding amount given for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act that aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage-employment, was not properly utilized," she added.
Gandhi also lauded the people of Gurdaspur for attaching higher importance to education.
"Gurdaspur is known for its many achievements. Specifically, the quality of education here is quite high and increasing at a steady pace. In 2001, the literacy rate here was 73 percent, which went to more than 81 percent by 2011. I believe that the future of the people of a city, who give high importance to education, can only be bright. So, it can be said with confidence that Gurudaspur is moving ahead on the path to progress and development on its won," she said.
Punjab is one of five states due to hold elections this year. As per the schedule planned by Election Commission, the state assembly poll in Punjab would be held on January 30.
In Punjab, the main battle is expected to be between the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)- Bharatiya Janata Party alliance and the Congress Party. Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab and son of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, heads the SAD. (ANI)
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