Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh said on Monday that former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had agreed to his proposal to assist the party in making a blueprint for the state’s economic revival.
The committee is headed by former Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal and comprises former chief secretary KR Lakhanpal and economist Sucha Singh Gill. Manpreet, who was also present at the press meet, said the guidance of an economist like Dr Manmohan Singh would prove to be of great help in identifying ways to pave Punjab out of the financial crisis.
On his wife Preneet Kaur, brother Malwinder Singh and son Raninder Singh, all being allocated berths in the recently released Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) list, he said his wife and brother were both senior leaders. He, however, expressed ignorance on Raninder’s name figuring in the list as a special invitee. “My son is not interested in politics. He is president of the National Rifle Association of India and busy there. Maybe his name was put in the list by Delhi leaders and was not recommended by me,” he said.
Asked if top slots to kin of MLAs and MPs in the list contradicted his one-ticket-per-family stand, the state Congress chief said the rule would be followed without exception during election. “The criteria for ticket allocation will be winnability,” Amarinder said.
On voices of dissent against recently released list, the state Congress chief said he tried to accommodate as many people as possible. “I have read the statement of senior leaders such as Amarjit Tikka. At times some people get left out inadvertently. They will be accommodated,” he said. He also said the first meeting of the new body would be held on Tuesday and each of the 117 constituencies would have a senior leader as in-charge.
‘REMOVE ASYLUM-SEEKERS FROM BLACKLIST’
Describing his recent trip to the US as a major achievement, Amarinder said he interacted with over 10,000 people and Punjabi non-resident Indians have started contacting the Congress for the poll campaign.
On protests by rights group, Sikhs for Justice, he said they never talked about justice to anyone. Sikh immigrants who went abroad for political asylum are mostly job seekers. “They are not given visas to return home. The blacklist should be revised and I will be taking up the matter with Union home minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj,” he said.
PROTEST AGAINST KHALSA UNIVERSITY
Replying to Punjab government’s move to set up Khalsa University at Amritsar, Amarinder, who had threatened to hold protests, said he would move court if the government goes ahead with the proposal. The panel headed by chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal has given its nod to set it up and a letter of intent will be issued shortly.