BATHINDA: The Sanyukt Samaj Morcha Farmers’ Political Front (SSM) has made three announcements from the manifesto they are preparing for the February 20 general election in Punjab.
The SSM’s prime ministerial face, Balbir Singh Rajewal, announced on Saturday that if elected, the SSM will set up a Hisab Kitab (examination) commission to investigate wrongdoing by previous governments. He added that they will also charge small shop owners’ domestic electricity tariff. The party’s manifesto will be published early next week.
Rajewal, who outlined the agenda, said the commission will investigate all financial wrongdoing over the past 20-25 years. “Those who looted Punjab would be held accountable and would have to return the looted money,” he said.
He said the Punjab Lokpal, now a toothless tiger, would be given enormous powers to take on corrupt politicians and their associates. It is well known that politicians have formed syndicates to loot the state’s revenue-generating resources, he said. “If our morcha came to power, we would make all the looters spit out the money they looted,” he added.
The second major announcement he made concerned small shop owners, dabha and tuck shop owners and those who run repair shops. If the morcha formed the government, it would charge electricity tariffs from all these small shopkeepers at domestic tariffs, not commercial tariffs, he added. Rajewal said these shopkeepers worked hard to make a living and made little money. There are countless such shopkeepers in cities and towns, he said. “We feel their difficulties and we want to help them a little bit,” Rajewal added.
Rajewal’s third announcement concerned farmers taking out crop loans from cooperative banks. Rajewal said no interest would be charged on farmers who repaid the loan on time. He said the interest rate on such crop loans is currently 7%, but 3% subsidy is granted by the central government. Farmers would have to pay 4% interest on these loans, he said. “If the morcha formed the government, it would not charge any interest at all on such loans, which are made by credit unions twice in a year – for rabi and kharif crops – and would have to repay them after a crop cycle,” he said.
He said Morcha’s campaign is picking up steam and will grow stronger in the coming days. He said he submitted documents showing corruption of AAP leaders but Arvind Kejriwal ignored it.
Meanwhile, SSM has announced its remaining four candidates. Harmilap Singh Grewal was employed by Bathinda Urban.