Slow labour reforms, poor infra to blame
Politically, the divide within the Punjab Congress may have the ruling Akali-BJP government smiling. But the crisis in the state Congress may actually lead to a sharper attack on the ruling alliance in the forthcoming Assembly session.
The session, to begin on Friday, is likely to see almost all aspirants for the post of Leader of Opposition, launch a scathing attack on the government. With the Congress leadership expected to either announce the name of a Hindu leader, Ambika Soni, or succumb to the choice of leader proposed by former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Sunil Jakhar as replacement for Partap Bajwa as PPCC chief, there seem to be several aspirants within the Congress MLAs for the post of Leader of Opposition a post held by Jakhar.
As the session gets going on September 18, the aspirants are expected to try and take on the government, thus staking their claim to the post of Leader of Opposition. The names of at least two Sikh MLAs and one Hindu MLA (by virtue of his seniority) are doing the rounds. Though Capt Amarinder Singh has reportedly written to the party leadership for retaining Jakhar as CLP leader, in case he is not chosen as the PPCC chief, sources in the Congress say the caste equations favour a Dalit Sikh candidate as CLP leader, in case the PPCC chief is from the Hindu community.
Even as speculation is rife over change in CLP leader, Jakhar, while refusing any comment on the issue, says the Opposition is all geared up to take on the government. Though he maintained that the Congress would not let the cat out of the bag on issues on which they propose to confront the government, he said the agrarian and rural crisis and the poor policy planning of the government to mitigate the woes of the farming community, be it cotton, basmati or cane growers, will be discussed. The poor fiscal health of the state will also be discussed in the eight-day session (September 18-24, though effectively the session will be held for only four days).
The government, meanwhile, is also prepared to deal with the Opposition onslaught. A Cabinet meeting has been convened on September 17 to discuss various bills that have to be brought in the session.
Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, SAD spokesperson, told The Tribune that all ministers were ready with facts and figures on how various the programmes were being implemented. We welcome healthy debate in the House on issues concerning the people of Punjab. We will answer all queries raised by the Congress, he said.