Captain's call brought a sizeable number of hands to deck on Friday to oppose new taxes.
In Bathinda, Moga, Mansa, Faridkot, and Muktsar, the Congress put up a good show. State Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh had called for the campaign.
The Congress workers who sat outside the office of the deputy commissioner here raised slogans against the government and asked for rollback of the taxes. Most of the speakers had words of praise for Amarinder's leadership and his guts in taking on the Punjab government.
State Congress general secretary and former minister Harmander Singh Jassi called the new levies "dictatorship tax" and asked if the government needed so much money indeed, why did it have to buy a helicopter for Rs 38 crore? "The Badal family is now dictator clan. Women commandos protect it and common man pays for its expenses."
Former legislator Makhan Singh asked chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to explain why he had wasted the taxpayer's money on appointing 21 chief parliamentary secretaries and many personal advisers who had cabinet rank, pay, perks and other benefits. "Why does the CM's entire family globe trots on government expense?" he said. "Better stop wasteful expenditure than impose taxes."
Protests would continue until the rollback of taxes, said Gurpreet Kangar, former member of the legislative assembly (MLA). "Every section of society was affected and upset." "In less than six months of its second term, the government has gone into financial crisis and crime has increased," said Bhucho MLA Ajaib Singh Bhatti.
Former improvement trust chairman Jagroop Gill; Punjab Congress delegates Darshan Singh Jeeda and KK Sharma; and Youth Congress leaders Tinku Grower, Iqbal Singh Dhillon, and Rupinder Bindra were present.
Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, Congress MLA from Talwandi Sabo, was absent. One of his associate claimed he had poor health.