The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has smartly turned its ‘Pani Bachao, Punjab Bachao’ (Save Water, Save Punjab) rally, to be held at Killi Chahal village in the district on the occasion of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s birthday on December 8, as a government event.
With this move, the ruling SAD has tried to kill two birds with one stone as it has not only saved the party funds, but is also trying to lure voters by projecting itself as the saviour of Punjab waters.
The party usually organises a rally in Moga on its own on Badal’s birthday before every assembly elections in the state, but this time the party, using the SYL (Sutlej-Yamuna Link) issue, has made it a state function.
On its part, the SAD-BJP government has issued a letter to the district authorities, making it clear that it is organising the ‘mega rally’ to save the Punjab waters.
Crores of rupees are being spent from the government treasury on the arrangements for the event, which is being handled by the state public relations department.
Sources said the function will cost at least Rs 5 crore to the state exchequer. The administration has acquired 200 acres of land from farmers on a rent of Rs 25,000 per acre, spending around Rs 50 lakh on it while other bulk expenses will be on the mega stage for the rally, advertisements, food, transport, helipad and hotel accommodation.
Moreover, the entire official machinery, including police and the local administration, has been deputed to oversee the arrangements even as local residents complain about the missing officials in various government offices.
Even deputy commissioner (DC) Parminder Singh Gill and Moga senior superintendent of police (SSP) Snehdeep Sharma are spending most of their time at the rally venue.
Meanwhile, the entire state has been dotted with posters, hoardings and wall paintings carrying Badal’s pictures, inviting people to the mega rally. “Punjab de pania di raakhi layi mai vaddi to vaddi qurbani de deyanga (I can sacrifice anything to save the Punjab waters),” the posters quote the CM as saying.
BLURB The rally that marks CM Badal’s birthday will be held at Killi Chahal village in Moga district