Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal launched 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' in a low profile state-level function at Shekhupura village in Bathinda district on Thursday.
No special effort was made to make the state-level function a remarkable and the CM administered an oath to people on the sidelines of his 'sangat darshan' programme at Shekhpura village. The chief minister even avoided to wield a broom and completed the formality of taking an oath from the stage of sangat darshan.
Interestingly, the Bathinda administration has launched a separate campaign in the city despite the fact that a state-level function was being also organised in the district.
Later talking to reporters, CM sprung surprise when he used the occasion to exhort benefits of federal structure to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
When asked if centrally-controlled programmes like PM's Teacher Day speech and the cleanliness campaign hurts the idea of federal structure, Badal replied: "I want to say it categorically that India has not developed at the rate it was expected to develop after the Independence, as all rights rested with the Centre. Different states have different problems, let the states decide about their priorities."
"I had suggested Prime Minister Modi that there was no use of holding all CMs meet, as such meetings prove nothing more than lecture. Instead, the PM should individually meet every CM and ask them about the need of their states," said Badal.
When asked why people do not seem enthusiastic about the campaign, Badal, instead of snubbing query, said: "Often enthusiasm is low at the starting point, but it will gain momentum with the passage of time. When one city will start the campaign, the next will follow it. They will take inspiration from each other."
On availability of funds out of `60,000 crore reserved for campaign, CM said, "Ajee tan anna bhi nahi aya. (We have not received any penny yet). However, we will ask for money as it will be needed to run the campaign."
On the issue of flood compensation, the CM said, "As per rules, we cannot give more than `3,500 per acre. The bureaucracy is same which was there before the formation of the Modi government. The people will not be benefitted unless we change the old laws."