When the Congress released its poll manifesto on eve of February elections in Punjab, the man who drafted it, Manpreet Badal, had described it as his party’s “Bible” once it forms the government.
A fortnight into power, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and his finance minister Manpreet are not on the same page on the “Historical Memory Law” through, which the latter wants to “erase all remnants of cruel and humiliating British colonial rule” in the state.
Amid rumblings within party and the government against Manpreet’s move to end the VIP culture — the new government has banned red beacons on vehicles — the CM chose the installation of former finance minister Lal Singh as Punjab Mandi Board chairman to break ranks with Manpreet.
Talking to the media, Amarinder made it clear that he was not in favour of the kind of legislation that Manpreet is propounding.
“As a historian myself, I do not believe in wiping out history but in learning from it. By changing the name of Akbar Road, India could not wipe out the existence of Emperor Akbar,” he said.
The CM even went on to describe something that was a part of party’s poll manifesto as Manpreet’s “personal opinion” and said he would look into any such legislation as and when it is formally brought to his notice, dismissing it as something just in the realm of media reporting.
“History can neither be changed nor rewritten. It’s a part of India’s past, from which we have already learnt our lessons and moved forward, he said, adding that he was personally not in favour of tampering with history, be it good or bad,” he added.
Another legislation proposed by Manpreet on conflict of interest too has ruffled feathers of Congress ministers, MLAs and leaders with business interests. The FM wants to study similar legislations in other countries that requires those in power to disassociate themselves from their businesses. His move to make all MPs, ministers, MLAs and officers to declare their immovable assets too has raised the hackles of many.