Not much is said about Prakash Singh Badal and his political party i.e Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in news. Although BJP-Akali Dal alliance has scored a landslide win in municipal elections in Chandigarh just ahead of crucial state assembly polls, there are some facts on the basis of which people of Punjab tend to dislike the Badal-led government, which, in future, may result in losing seats in upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections.
One can’t deny the fact that the ruling SAD-BJP alliance has been successful in achieving most of its promises; from electrifying the villages to the construction of roads and e-governance, but their corrupt practices and dictatorial attitude towards other leaders within the same party has overshadowed their achievements. Alongside these vices, their achievements are marred with many bungles. Just after coming to the power, they increased their government expenditure which led Punjab into debt. The current debt of Punjab is about Rs. 1.12 lakh crore which has almost doubled in 9 years.
And not only that, the monopoly held by the ruling government compels people to call it ‘Akali Raj’ rather than Akali Government. Badal family has started hundreds of businesses; most of them are kept away from the knowledge of common men. From the transport company to the hotel industry, they have everything. Because of Badal owned Orbit Transport Company, Punjab’s government bus service has gone into deficit. It was for one day when Orbit Buses were not allowed to go onto the roads; that it resulted in PEPSU Road Transport Corporation earning a profit of 10 lakhs in a single day. It has been said and heard that they are building a 7-star luxury hotel near Mullanpur (known as New Chandigarh). They have even constructed a special 29 km 4 lane road approaching the resort. As Badal’s stake would grow, so would Mullanpur’s fortune.
In the milieu of employment too, despite Deputy CM Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal’s effort, Punjab government has failed to attract the capital investment. The dream of making Punjab an IT hub doesn’t look completed. This has led to exclusive unemployment or underemployment in the state. Talking about the government sector, Punjab government has failed to employ despite many unfilled posts in education, power, and the police department that press the charge of incoherent governance.
The loss of farmers that used to be the major vote bank for SAD, has worsened the situation for the Badal government. Everything was going satisfactorily until their practices resulted in the distribution of poor quality pesticide to the farmers sowing cotton. Because of this, the crops that could not bear the attack of whitefly insect were damaged in the Malwa belt. The government paid Rs. 8000 to the farmers per acre but that doesn’t seem to be enough.
However, nothing can be said as of now. The elections can be a surprising element or, it might even reinforce the opinions that people have hitherto voiced. Every party is trying its best to score a landslide victory over the others, and the transforming political steps (Sidhu’s resignation from BJP, for instance) is making it a whole new spectacle.