SAD-BJP has pushed Punjab backwards: Sonia

Congress President Sonia Gandhi lashed out at the SAD-BJP alliance, accusing it of failing to utilise the money given by the Centre.

Kapurthala (Punjab): Congress President Sonia
Gandhi on Thursday lashed out at the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP
alliance in Punjab, accusing it of failing to properly utilise
the money given to the state by the Centre for various
development works.

"The Centre gave huge amount of money to the Punjab
government for the state`s progress, but it did not reach the
people," she said at a rally here while kickstarting the
Congress election campaign from the Doaba belt of the state.

Charging the Parkash Singh Badal government with
"miserably failing" on all fronts, she said the peasantry and
employees in the state are unhappy with the SAD-BJP alliance.

"The government in Punjab even failed to disburse salaries
to its employees," she said, adding that "only a Congress
government is capable of bringing prosperity and development
in the state."
Quoting statics of the last five years, she said during
the period the number of poor increased manifold in the state.
"How has the population of poor increased in the state," she

She said the Centre gave Rs 5,000 crore to Punjab under
the MNREGA scheme, but only Rs 526 crore was utilised by the
SAD-BJP government in the state.

Noting that no development had taken place in Punjab in
the past five years, she said, "These parties forge alliance
only to win elections."
"These parties make big promises and you know what happens
after the polls," she said.

The Congress President told the electorate that they have
a huge responsibility and their future would depend on their
choice of the next government.

After Independence the Congress governments were
instrumental in construction big dams, power houses and rail
workshops, she said, seeking votes for development of the

Gandhi told the voters that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
was eager to set up a refinery in Punjab.

On the issue of development, she said the UPA government
at the Centre never differentiated between a state governed by
Congress and a non-Congress ruled state.

"The SAD-BJP completely failed to take advantage of the
schemes sponsored by the Centre," she said.

Listing "failures" of SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab, she said
power situation is worse, government schools are in a bad
condition and industry is leaving the state. "Such a situation
is giving rise to unemployment and crime," she said.

Gandhi alleged that the SAD-BJP alliance committed
atrocities on women and did not protect the interests of

She said the SAD-BJP government took loans to pay salary
to its employees.

"How do they (SAD-BJP) claim that a government exists in
the state, in fact there is no government worth its name in
Punjab," she said.

In her brief speech, she noted that for the betterment of
Punjab a change is required and said that during the Congress
regimes the state had made rapid progress.

Earlier, in a message read out at a rally at Moga, where
she could not make it because of bad weather, Gandhi assured
party workers in Punjab that the entire senior leadership was
with them and asked them to stand firm and united to bring
Congress back to power in the state.