Congess MLA Nagra gives up power subsidy, provokes Sukhbir to follow suit | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Congess MLA Nagra gives up power subsidy, provokes Sukhbir to follow suit

Sukhbir was quick to lap up the opportunity, asking the government to bring in a resolution that all members of the House would give up their power subsidy.

punjab Updated: Jun 22, 2017 11:12 IST
HT Correspondent
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal (HT File)

In a game of one-upmanship, Punjab’s rich politicians almost agreed to give up their power subsidy and salary.

After chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced to give up his power subsidy — it left many wondering on how and why he got it — during his speech on motion on thanks on the governor’s address, the Congress tried to gain some brownie points by asking their Akali counterparts to follow suit during the debate on budget on Wednesday.

Highlighting that the government came good on its promise of debt waiver to farmers despite empty coffers, Congress MLA Kuljit Nagra provoked Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal to give up power subsidy, saying he lorded over a business empire worth crores. Sukhbir was quick to lap up the opportunity, asking the government to bring in a resolution that all members of the House would give up their power subsidy.

Nagra, who had earlier tried to provoke Sukhbir by taking on his brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia who had left the House by then, went a step ahead and offered to give up a month’s salary for farmers. This time again Sukhbir took up the challenge asking the government to bring in a resolution promising all its MLAs will give up their month’s salary too.

The turn of events left some MLAs of both parties visibly uncomfortable, but Nagra was in no mood to relent. He accused the previous government of patronising mafias in sand mining, liquor, transport, real estate and cable TV network. At this, Sukhbir was again on his feet, asking the government to end the mafia raj now that it was in power. “Hun sarkar tuwhadi ae. Kar lo mafia raj khatam (now you are in power, end mafia raj),” he said, again asking the government to bring in a resolution to investigate all mafias operating in Punjab.

Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal had earlier accepted that the Congress government cannot end mafia raj in the first year of its term. Though the government has for now announced a debt waiver for small and marginal farmers, rich and powerful farmers and politicians continue to enjoy free power in Punjab.

The free power bill of the state has crossed the Rs 10,000-crore mark in the budget presented on Tuesday. The Congress budget has added families of freedom fighters also to the list of scheduled castes and those living below the poverty line, who get 200 units of free power. The budget has also frozen per unit rate of power for existing and new industry to Rs 5 as part of its poll promise — a largesse the CM has announced to extend to all consumers of the state.