SAD fails to encash holy city projects
A plethora of development projects undertaken in Amritsar and back-to-back visits by deputy chief minister (CM) Sukhbir Singh Badal to make the city a top tourist destination failed to translate into votes for the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine in the assembly polls, which have been swept by the Congress.Updated: Mar 14, 2017 11:15 IST
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
A plethora of development projects undertaken in Amritsar and back-to-back visits by deputy chief minister (CM) Sukhbir Singh Badal to make the city a top tourist destination failed to translate into votes for the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine in the assembly polls, which have been swept by the Congress.
In the past one year, the holy city witnessed inauguration of a number of development and beautification projects, the most prominent being the Heritage Street, Sukhbir’s dream project.
All efforts of the ruling alliance, however, failed to have any impact on voters, as the SAD-BJP failed to even open their account in Amritsar Urban, which has five assembly seats. The Congress won all five. Akalis also faced a drubbing in rural areas. Out of total 11 assembly seats in the district, Capt Amarinder Singh led party won 10. Only Bikram Singh Majithia, Sukhbir’s brother-in-law and revenue minister, could hold the fort in Majitha.
The SAD-BJP combine even failed to win back the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which was vacated by Capt, and went to the polls the same day as the Punjab assembly. Congress’ Gurjit Singh Aujla won the bypoll.
To start with, ₹160-crore Heritage Street project was touted to change the face of the area around the Golden Temple, though it took time to become a reality. Finally, it was inaugurated with much fanfare on October 24 last year along with a massive Golden Gate set up at the entrance to the city for ₹9.5 crore.
After a series of meetings and visits, even the much-delayed Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), another dream project of Sukhbir, was inaugurated on December 15, just before the elections. Despite all claims, the ₹600-crore project has failed to make any impact on the city’s transportation.
Besides these major projects, widening of roads, sanitation around Civil Lines, setting up of a food street and renovation of Gobindgarh Fort were also undertaken to woo the electorate.
It was not only Sukhbir who took keen interest in developing Amritsar, but even Punjab local bodies minister Anil Joshi took up a range of projects in his Amritsar North segment. Joshi ended up losing the elections to Congress’ Sunil Datti by over 14,000 votes.
Cost: Rs 160 crore
Inauguration: Oct 24, 2016
Cost: Rs 9.5 crore
Inauguration: Oct 24, 2016
Cost: Rs 600 crore
Inauguration: Dec 15, 2016
First Published: Mar 14, 2017 11:02 IST