The Punjab Congress on Tuesday launched a mass contact campaign from Gurdaspur district to mobilise people against the alleged failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre to fulfill its poll promises.
"It's a campaign against Modi who has betrayed the people of the country by not keeping his poll promises. The campaign will also focus on the alleged loot of state's resources by the SAD-BJP government and its faulty policies that are burdening the people," said Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa while addressing a gathering of party leaders and workers here.
He said the programme will also focus on alleged atrocities against the dalits in the state and cited the recent death of a Moga teen who was pushed off a speeding Orbit bus after being allegedly molested and arrest of Faridkot students who were protesting against the incident.
Bajwa said instead of giving plots to the dalits in the rural areas, housing societies should be set up to provide them flats.
The Punjab Congress chief said the party would make the public aware about the "anti-people and anti-dalit policies" of the Modi government which had curtailed fund allocation for social welfare schemes by 30%. In Punjab, people were not getting old age and other pensions, he claimed.
In the first phase of the programme, all 34 reserve assembly constituencies of the state would be covered by September 28. Two constituencies would be covered every week and in each constituency two programmes would be organised. The feedback from these mass contact programmes would be conveyed to the Congress leadership so that issues concerning the people are taken up in the party manifesto in the future.
Padyatra in Phase 2
The second phase of the campaign would start from October 2 from Pathankot in the form of a 'padyatra' . It will have six phases' with Bajwa covering 175 km in each phase, walking 15 km in a day.
Bajwa asked chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to get an assurance from Modi that the Centre would continue to procure foodgrain from the state.
"The PM must allay farmers' concerns over procurement by the central government. Such an assurance will work as a motivating force for farmers. They don't want to face problems at the time of selling their produce", Bajwa said.
He also demanded rollback of cess levied on petrol and diesel.
Factionalism comes to fore
Factionalism within the state Congress came to the fore as number of senior leaders stayed away from the function.
Prominent among those missing were party's four MLAs - Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa (Dera Baba Nanak), Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa (Fatehgarh Churian), Ashwani Sekri (Batala) and Aruna Chaudhary (Dinanagar) . The four are staunch loyalists of former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Randhawa is the president of party's Gurdaspur unit.