Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will release the Congress manifesto for the February 4 assembly elections in Punjab on Monday.
The party document is expected to contain various sops for different sections of the society. Apart from several welfare measures for Dalits and other marginalised sections, the Congress manifesto is also expected to talk extensively about the loan waiver for farmers and steps to check rampant drug menace in the state.
In a bid to woo retired soldiers, the party has already promised to set up an ex-servicemen cell in the chief minister’s office and a separate department, Guardians of Democracy, from panchayat to village and state levels to monitor the distribution of funds and implementation of various schemes for former military personnel.
In a major boost to the party ahead of the polls, the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), an organisation of retired military personnel agitating over the implementation of one rank-one pension (OROP), last week pledged its support to the Congress in Punjab and other poll-bound states.
This will be the first time that Manmohan Singh, a prominent Sikh face of the Congress, will release the party manifesto for any elections in Punjab.
With the release of its manifesto, the Congress is all set to hit the top gear in the state which is witnessing a three-cornered contest this time. The Congress is pitted against the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is fighting the Punjab assembly polls for the first time. The SAD-BJP alliance has been in power in the state for the past 10 years.
The Congress is set to get another shot in the arm on Tuesday when cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu is likely to join the party. The former BJP MP is expected to contest the coming elections from the Amritsar East seat which was till recently held by his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu.