The Punjab Congress has decided to hold a protest demonstration outside Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's residence here on June 23 in case the latter failed to meet its long-pending demands in a week's time.
Addressing a press conference here on Monday, CLP leader Sunil Jakhar said the SAD-BJP government should immediately arrange to make payment to the farmers for their sugarcane crop, which had already been delayed a lot.
Jakhar said the state government should distribute Rs. 186 crore among the farmers, the amount that had been earmarked for the sugarcane growers.
Jakhar also asked Badal to withdraw the property tax in the state which, he said, had been a financial burden on people. "Badal had promised to withdraw the property tax and now it is time for him to walk the talk," said Jakhar.
He also asked the Punjab government to clear all pendency pertaining to the various social welfare schemes announced by the SAD-BJP alliance before coming to power. "There is a huge backlog of various social welfare schemes pending in Punjab, which include Shagun and widow and old-age pension schemes. The beneficiaries of these schemes are Dalits and weaker sections. The government must not deprive these sections of their lawful right," said Jakhar.
He said if the Akali government failed to fulfil these demands in a week, the Congress would be forced to hold the protest demonstration outside Badal's residence.
Jakhar also impressed upon the state government to increase the duration of the budget session scheduled from July 15 to July 22. "According to the Constitution, the Vidhan Sabha must meet and discuss important issues pertaining to the people of the state for at least 40 days a year. However, most of the time the duration of the sessions is not beyond 20 to 22 days. Keeping in view the interest of the residents the state government should increase the number of days of the budget session," said Jakhar.
Earlier, Jakhar held a meeting with the Congress legislators to devise the strategy to be adopted during the budget session in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Of the 43 Congress MLAs, 30 attended the meeting.
During the meeting, the Congress legislators also introspected and discussed the reasons behind the party's poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls.
Jakhar said it was the prerogative of the party high command to have Partap Singh Bajwa as the Punjab Congress chief, when asked to comment on the growing voices within the party, including that of former chief minister Amarinder Singh, openly seeking Bajwa's exit.