Chandigarh: A marked progress in the implementation of several of its poll promises notwithstanding, the first year of the chief minister Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab has nevertheless, been full of hits and misses.
Taking to social media on the completion of his government’s one year on Thursday, Mann listed out the implementation of several of AAP poll promises including free power up to 300 units – thus benefiting about 90% consumers -, MSP on moong, setting up over 500 Aam Aadmi clinics (or mohalla clinics), 117 ``schools of eminence’’ and launching a crackdown on corruption as his government’s achievements. However, the AAP government failed to fulfil its promise to give ₹1,000 grant to all women in its first year.
26,700 jobs, regularised services of 14,000 contractual teachers
Stating that his government had also given over 26,700 jobs, regularised services of 14,000 contractual teachers and employees of the education department, he said that his focus next year would be a war against drugs and setting up of industry in the state.
As the AAP government launched a crackdown on corruption, the vigilance bureau (VB) nabbed three former ministers – Sunder Sham Arora, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, besides several officials since it came to power.
While the opposition parties alleged political vendetta, AAP government’s own health minister Dr Vijay Singla and party MLA Amit Rattan Kotfatta were also held on corruption charges. However, even though AAP minister Fauja Singh Sarari was removed from state Cabinet after his name cropped up in an alleged case of ``extortion’’, the government has yet to take any further action against him.
The AAP government also claimed to have arrested 582 gangsters, busted 162 gangsters modules and neutralised five in its first year of rule.
The AAP faced the daunting challenges related to law and order, gangsterism, a surge in activities of radical elements, and fiscal compulsions in its first year of rule. It also faced allegations of being remote-controlled by AAP’s Delhi leadership and Mann recently faced the flak for the bitter feud with governor Banwarilal Purohit.
It was just a few days after the Mann governemnt had taken over, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired on state police intelligence headquarters Mohali. The brutal killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala on May 29 came as a huge embarrassment for the Mann government. While the government struggled to take control of the situation, the target killings - of a Hindu leader and a dera follower – in November shook the state.
Another incident which again put the AAP government in poor light and showed the growing influence of radical elements in the state when a pro-Khalistan propagator Amritpal Singh stormed the Ajnala police station in Amritsar on February 23, along with hundreds of his armed supporters, demanding release of one of his aides.
On the finances front too, even though the revenue receipts went up by 20% and the excise duty collection by over 43%, the free power units for domestic consumers seemed to bleed the state exchequer. While the government has borrowed over Rs 30.9K crore, it would borrow another Rs 34.7K crore in 2023-2024, that would take the state debt to over Rs 3.47 lakh crore by March 2024.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)