With just a few hours left before the curtains came down on campaigning for the Punjab assembly elections on Friday, the ruling Congress released its 13-point manifesto. The state will vote on February 20.
More than the agenda, however, the delay in releasing the manifesto by the Congress has become the talking point in political circles. The manifesto has promised to end the “mafia raj” in sand, liquor and cable businesses, financial aid of Rs 1,100 to women, eight free cooking gas cylinders a year to homemakers, and one lakh government jobs.
Chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and veteran Sunil Jakhar have resolved to work together in a show of strength. Channi has promised to fully implement Sidhu’s “Punjab model”.
Despite the picture of unity, however, many on the ground have been left wondering as to why there was a delay in releasing the manifesto and, if not so, why did the grand old party choose the last day to release the manifesto. Senior party leaders said while Sidhu had been announcing his “Punjab model” at every press conference before the announcement of a chief ministerial candidate on February 6, unanimity in incorporating all the points was becoming tricky.
Channi had also been making his set of promises. The chairperson of the manifesto committee and Rajya Sabha member Partap Singh Bajwa began his campaign much before his name was announced from Qadian constituency. “Bringing all leaders on the same page has been a task,” said a senior Congress leader.
The leader said all the seniors who made promises during their campaigns wanted every point to be included. “The 13-point manifesto was finished after having incorporated some feedback from the ground and some promises made by senior leaders,” the leader said.
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