With an eye on the assembly elections in 2017, newly appointed Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Captain Amarinder Singh, in a manner quite atypical of him, on Tuesday visited the protesting Punjab Sikhya Providers’ Union members who have been sitting on a hunger strike for the last 46 days outside the education department’s office here.
The Congress leader assured the protesting teachers of regularising their jobs on a priority basis if voted to power.
Known for staying away from dharnas, Amarinder surprised all with the visit at Phase 8 here. He slammed the Shiromani Akali dal- Bharatiya Janata (SAD-BJP) government for “inaction on the isue”.
Without naming the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Amarinder cautioned people to “avoid experimenting during the upcoming elections”.
“Only those people who have experience in governance should form the government. Punjab has already been destroyed when people experimented by voting the Akalis to power for 10 years. Now, do not waste another five years experimenting on someone who does not have experience of governance,” he said.
“The Aam Aadmi Party may be able to create some noise but when it comes to electoral politics in Punjab it does not stand a chance, leave aside forming the government,” he added.
“I am sorry that it is happening to teachers who educate and shape future generations. I assure you that the Congress will safeguard your interests. It is unfortunate that you had to resort to protest,” said Congress president striking a chord with the teachers who have been demanding regularisation of their jobs for 11 years.
“The Badals have failed to deliver the promises they made, forcing you to sit on dharnas time and again,” said Captain. He recounted that the sikhya providers were recruited in 2004 under a scheme in which the central government footed the salaries.
Lashing out at the Punjab government’s “election oriented” announcements to recruit about 1 lakh youth in the state, he said, “How and where they will recruit 1 lakh youth when they are not paying the salaries of employees of their departments. Even pensions have not been paid for the last nine months.”
Capt gives midday meal workers’ protest a miss
Amarinder did not meet midday meal workers and ‘sanjha morcha’ teachers who too were protesting alongside the sikhya providers.
He, however, met the protesting employees of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), who are demanding pension and other facilities, and assured them that their demands will be met with once the Congress forms government in the state.
‘Cong to probe Pinky’s revelations’
Amarinder said after coming to power the Congress government will probe the revelations made by dismissed cop Gurmeet Singh Pinky about killing of youth in fake encounters during terrorism days.
“What Pinky has revealed appears to be just a tip of the iceberg and the Congress government will find out the entire truth. As a civilised society we cannot allow such things to happen and those who did it must face the music,” Amarinder said.