Manpreet Badal to launch awareness campaign

Sunday, November 14, 2010

AMRITSAR - Punjab’s sacked finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, a nephew of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Sunday announced the launch of a “Jago Punjab Yatra” to create awareness on key issues among the people of the state.

“Jago Punjab Yatra will start from Faridkot town on Nov 24 and it will cover all 117 constituencies of Punjab. We would bring radical economic, political and social reforms and clean our system through this yatra,” Manpreet Badal told reporters here.

“We will spread awareness about various issues and also collect feedback from common people. We will talk about state’s economy, corruption, poverty, illiteracy, drug addiction and unemployment,” he added.

Manpreet Badal was removed from the ministry and later expelled from Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal Oct 20 after his statements on doing away with subsidies and freebies, like free power to farmers, and Punjab’s finances and debt write-offs offered by the central government, brought him in confrontation with the party’s policies and leadership.

Talking about his future agenda, he said: “We want to bring 50 percent quota for youth and women in the state legislature. No MLA (legislator) should serve as a minister for more than two terms in the Punjab cabinet.”

Targeting his cousin and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the Akali Dal president, Manpreet also called for a bar on blood relatives serving in the same cabinet.

“We need to eliminate VIP culture in Punjab and laws should be made against beacon light or siren, except for emergency services. the State government should stop wasteful expenditure. Subsidies should target only poor people and agriculture should become self-sustaining. We need to adopt zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and all cases related to this should be finished in one year’s time,” he added.

Manpreet, 48, who is known for keeping a low profile, is an honours graduate from Delhi’s St Stephen’s college and studied law in London.

Filed under: Politics

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