Accusing the SAD-BJP government in Punjab of misrule, corruption and financial irregularities, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said on central funds running into hundreds of crores given to the state were not appropriately utilised.
“If the SAD-BJP government had shown interest in development, then it would have channelised the funds...in a proper manner to benefit the population,” Singh said at rally in Amritsar.
The Congress’s campaign for the January 30 elections has picked up pace in the last few days. The PM’s visit to Punjab comes two days after party president Sonia Gandhi addressed a rally in Kapurthala.
Appealing to people to vote for the Congress, Singh said, “You have to create such an environment wherein central funds are utilised for the purpose for which they have been given. It is my conviction that such an environment is only possible if you use your vote power in favour of the Congress.”
He said while neighbouring, Congress-ruled Haryana was progressing by leaps and bounds, Punjab was reeling under a debt of R1.2 lakh crore.
Coming to Punjab, he said, “gives me a different energy as I have spent a long time here”. But the lack of progress “always disappoints me”.
“I am in pain when I hear of youngsters falling in the trap of drug addiction,” he said. “Main cause of this is failure of the state government to create employment avenues. Presently, the count of unemployed (in the state) touched 47 lakh.”
The government, said Singh, is committed to bringing a strong lokpal.
“The lokpal bill has been passed in Lok Sabha and I appeal to all the political parties to rise above party politics and get it passed in Rajya Sabha as well.”
He said he was “very confident” that in the near future we will have a “strong lokpal”.