Ludhiana: Lashing out at the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal - Bharatiya Janata Party alliance government in Punjab, Congress president Sonia Gandhi blamed the state government for battered financial condition of the state.

“During the last Assembly poll campaign, I had reminded you to stop SAD-BJP alliance from returning to power in the state. But the alliance came to power. The result is before you. Punjab owes a debt of Rs 35, 000 crores. Please vote for the Congress in power,” said Sonia while addressing a poll rally at Samrala on Tuesday.

The rally drew a huge turnout as sixteen Congress candidates shared the stage with the Congress President.

Addressing the rally, Sonia cited development of agriculture and industrial sector, opportunity of employment, security of women and curbing drug addiction as main issues in state.
Holding the incumbent government responsible for battered financial condition of the state, Sonia said the SAD-BJP alliance caused the state to slip from number one state to 19th position.

“The state government did not provide required power forcing the farmers and industries into heavy debt. The disgruntled youth of Punjab got addicted to drug due to unemployment,” said the Congress president.

“Despite SAD-BJP government ruling in Punjab, the United Progressive Alliance never discriminated against the state while releasing funds. Despite enough funds for various schemes, the Badal government misused it,” added Sonia.

“Neither a single power plant nor industry has been set up in the state during SAD-BJP government. The lackadaisical attitude of the government marred the pace of development in the state. Therefore, corporate houses migrated to other states. The SAD-BJP government ignored the burning issues like education, health and empowerment of women. Women were tortured due to poor law and order situation in the state,” added the UPA chairperson.

“The needy were deprived from the benefits of JNNURM schemes. Despite getting approval of 70 central schemes, the state government initiated work on merely six schemes,” said Sonia.

Sonia said, “If the Congress is voted to power in the state, it will provide 24 hours electricity to the farmers, free agri equipments to the farmers having less than four acres of land. It will also provide for special package worth Rs 100 crore for agri-research. The Congress government will boost dairy farming and set up training centre for youths.”

If the Congress returns to power, it will constitute a commission to probe into cases lodged against the Congress workers during the SAD-BJP regime added Sonia.