A tough opposition broke the foundation-stone-laying spree of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday by doing the inauguration before he could walk in to take credit for more Centre-sponsored projects.
During his tour of the Patiala, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib Lok Sabha constituencies, Sukhbir had planned to lay the foundation stones of sewerage and other projects there on Friday but the Congress anticipated it.
Union minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur, who is also member of Parliament from Patiala, cut the ribbon at Nabha to begin the `65-crore project of laying sewerage lines and building a water-treatment plant.
Fatehgarh Sahib MP Sukhdev Libra laid the sewerage works' foundation stones at Sirhind (`54 crore) and Khanna (`131 crore) near Ludhiana. Congress legislators Sadhu Singh Dharamsot (Nabha), Kuljit Singh Nagra (Fatehgarh Sahib) and Gurkirat Singh Kotli (Khanna) joined the respective MPs.
Sangrur MP Vijay Inder Singla neither held a rally nor laid any foundation stone but he held a press conference to rubbish Sukhbir's claims of having approved a sewerage project for three towns in the constituency. "Everyone knows that I sanctioned the `80-crore sewerage project but Sukhbir is desperate to take credit, so I decided to inform the public through the media about my efforts," said Singla.
"Sukhbir has boarded a 'Toofan Mail' (a train as fast as storm, signifies haste) to lay the foundation stones of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) projects, which we won't allow," said Preneet Kaur. "The bankrupt state government is robbing the UPA of credit. It has no money to even pay its staff and Sukhbir talks of having given crores of rupees to projects. What has he given to Patiala in the last seven years?" she added.
At Sirhind, Congress secretary Kuljit Singh Nagra said the union urban development ministry had sanctioned all sewerage projects in the state, and 80% of the grant was from the Centre.