Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had proved his mettle by passing every test as head of the party, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said here on Monday.
The most difficult test for any political leader as head of a party was the performance in elections, the CM said in interaction with the media here on third and final day of his sangat darshan programme in Qadian assembly segment. "By leading the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to second consecutive victory in the state elections, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) polls, and by-elections, Sukhbir has proved his ability as party chief," he said.
Refusing to comment on whether Sukhbir would be re-elected SAD president on Tuesday in Amritsar, Badal said that the SAD was a democratic party and its president would be elected by the delegates. Replying to a query, the CM denied that the Punjab government had mortgaged any property of the state for securing bank loans to meet its routine administrative expenses. "We'll take no step that was against the interests of Punjab," he said, adding: "Loan for development is a plan adopted in almost every country and there is no harm in it."
Badal said the SAD had no objection whether or not political parties were covered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, adding that it was the Centre's call. He said the Punjab government would spend Rs 1,700 crore on upgrading the rural road network.
Earlier addressing members of 64 panchayats at Sathiali, Kot Santokh Rai and Sohal villages, the CM condemned the Congress' opposition to the sangat darshan programme, and said the interaction was for public benefit. "The Congress leaders oppose sangat darshan because their CMs were making merry in their tenures instead of serving people," he said.
Equating every sarpanch to "CM of the village", Badal said it was the sarpanch's duty to ensure inclusive development. Later, he also inaugurated a residential school for the children of Classes 6 to 8 at Sekhwan village. Built for Rs 73 lakh, the school will provide 100 children in the age group of 11 to 14 with free board and lodging facilities every year.
Former minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan, former legislator Lakhvir Singh Lodhinangal, and CM's special principal secretary Gurkirat Kirpal Singh were present.