With chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh giving a miss to what could have been his first major public address since forming the government, the Congress’ Baisakhi event here turned out to be a lacklustre affair. The chief minister cancelled the visit due to swelling in ankle, it is learnt.
Besides about a dozen party legislators and ex-MLAs on the dais, finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Amarinder’s confidant ex-minister Lal Singh were the main speakers and they presided over the event.
Manpreet said on the state government will come up with a viable solution to the farmer's debt issue in the budget session. "The state is meticulously working on this issue and after three months, the farmers of Punjab will get a big bonanza," he said. He said Punjab will take a stride bigger than that of Uttar Pradesh in respect of farmer's debt waiver.
Manpreet reiterated that the Congress government would fulfill its poll promise of a reformed Lokpal by introducing Lokpal bill in the next assembly session. He later told reporters that the new draft legislation would include the chief minister under the gambit of the Lokpal and the Lokpal would be selected with the consent of the leader of opposition only.
"Captain only brought the Congress to power in Punjab even as there was a Modi wave, which is evident from Uttar Pradesh results. He is keen on bringing investment to the state," Lal Singh said in his address. Almost all speakers sang paeans to Capt Amarinder from the dias.
On the SYL issue, Manpreet said that Punjab's case had not been represented appropriately in the apex court.
Prominent leaders from the 'Malwa' region who did show up included ex-MLA Sunil Jakhar, MLAs Rana Sodhi, Parminder Pinky, Amarinder Raja Warring and Kushaldeep Dhillon and ex-MLA Karan Brar.