Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa on Sunday rubbished the claims by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal of the state becoming power surplus with the inauguration of the thermal power plant at Talwandi Sabo.
Addressing a workers' rally at Zira, 32 km from Ferozepur, while launching the third phase of his mass contact programme, Bajwa said it was another power gimmick by Sukhbir as the thermal plant would run only at 30% of its capacity.
Moreover, there would be another hike in the power tariff as the electricity produced by the Talwandi Sabo and Rajpura thermal plants would be 25% costlier than that produced by the other plants, he said.
The Talwandi Sabo and Rajpura thermal plants were fully owned by private companies and the state government had not imposed a ceiling on the power tariff to be charged by them, he claimed, adding that the shortage of coal for thermal plants was another problem that the state government had failed to anticipate.
Bajwa said union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde had sought a report from the union home secretary regarding the synthetic drug racket unearthed by the Punjab police. Bajwa, who met Shinde two days ago, demanded that such a high-profile case be transferred to the CBI or the narcotics bureau immediately.
The state Congress chief claimed that the SAD leadership was fully exposed on the issue of drug menace in Punjab. He said the recent drug racket had vindicated the charges levelled by him that revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia was patronising the drug mafia in the state.
He claimed that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had tried to divert people's attention by blaming the Border Security Force (BSF) for "having failed to check" smuggling of drugs from across the border. "What can the BSF do when drugs were being manufactured by SAD leaders and smuggled under police protection," Bajwa wondered.
Speaking on the occasion, former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal said Punjab was not in safe hands and the Badal family was bent on mopping up all resources of the state.
Others who addressed the gathering included MLAs Rana Gurmeet Sodhi and Raja Amarinder Singh Warring besides Congress leaders Inderjit Singh Zira, Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Hans Raj Josan, Rajanbir Singh, Sardul Singh Bandala, Harminder Singh Gill, Darshan Singh Brar and Satkar Kaur.
'Amarinder is my elder brother'
"Capt Amarinder Singh is my elder brother," Bajwa told HT on the sidelines of the rally.
"All senior leaders, be it Capt Amarinder Singh, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal or Jagmeet Brar, have the right to interact with the party rank and file," Bajwa said, replying to a query on the ongoing tours of Amarinder.
"As long as they maintain the party discipline and do not issue a misleading statement, why should I object," he said.
Reacting to Amarinder Singh's statement that some of the sitting party MPs should be replaced, Bajwa said he would convey this to the party high command.