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Punjab: Bhagwant Mann govt completes 14 months, here’s what it got right

A former stage artist with only 10 years in active politics, Bhagwant Mann’s elevation to rule the state came as a surprise to many.

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Punjab: Bhagwant Mann govt completes 14 months, here's what it got right

The Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab has completed 14 months in office. AAP came to power breaking the state’s five-decades’ tradition alternating between the Congress and the Akalis, becoming the first non-Congress, non-Akali party to form a government in Punjab.

In the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections, AAP won 92 seats of the total 117 seats in the state. The victory was AAP’s first-ever government formation outside Delhi.

The landslide sent out a message that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s popularity was increasing across the country, which was a point of concern for the national parties.

A former stage artist with only 10 years in active politics, Bhagwant Mann’s elevation to rule the state came as a surprise to many.

After Mann was declared AAP’s chief ministerial candidate, a large group of experts said Kejriwal had made a huge mistake in handling the responsibilities to Mann, who had no background in running an administration.

Political experts used to say, Mann is being handed with a state that has 23 districts, 237 towns, and 12581 villages. But the Punjab CM has come away looking the victor against these doubts of experts. Punjab faces many challenges, the biggest being sharing the border with Pakistan, a channel that is used to smuggle drugs, illegal arms and exports, a big threat for the state and for the country.

As Mann completes 14 months as Chief Minister, he seems to have had a clear thought to change all these narratives that were in the air linked to his name.

Let’s take a look on how Mann and his government has thrived so far

Tough on corruption

CM Mann has made a space for himself among the people and is often tagged as a man who is tough when it comes to acting against corruption.

Clean governance and taking a clear stand against corruption is what his government is known for, especially after the sacking of then Health Minister Vijay Singla, when corruption charges were levelled against him. And it was not just one man shown the door for corruption, another Punjab Minister Fauja Singh Sarari was also forced to resign over graft.

Mann has won wide-spread popularity for his government’s zero-tolerance policy against corruption. From political leaders to senior government officials, no one is spared in his regime even at the assistant inspector general of the police level, people have been sent to jail.

Agriculture

The recent passed budget of the government increased an outlay for crop diversification in the state, which was seen a major step taken in favour of the agriculture sector.

CM Mann also promised to include Moong dal under the Minimum Support Price (MSP) scheme benefiting farmers growing the pulse.

Free Electricity

In just four months after coming to power, the government also fulfilled the manifesto promise of 300 units of free electricity.

Some of the other major decisions that have helped the Punjab governement get a pat on its back was introducing one MLA, one pension scheme, scrapping of load enhancement fee on tubewells, launching Aam Aadmi Clinics (a replica of the Mohalla clinics in Delhi) and such.

Mann re-introduced the old pension scheme scrapped in 2004, under which a retiree is entitled for 50-percent of his last drawn salary, a step that wooed the working government staff and the retired staff across Punjab.

The Mann government has also been decisive on clearing possession of illegally encroached government lands. Reports said the Punjab government has till now freed some 10,000 acres of encroached land.

On Friday, Mann announced another drive against illegal occupation on government encroached lands starting from June 1.

The Mann government is often charged by the opposition for leaving the administrative control of the state in Delhi (read Kejriwal) instead of keeping it in Punjab.

The Bhagwant Mann government’s good performance is crucial for the Aam Aadmi Party to expand its national footprint in the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls. It wants to do well in Punjab for Lok Sabha and the Haryana Assembly elections next year, which the AAP has been eyeing for long and expects a Punjab-like outcome as they are neighbouring states.

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Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma says only 8 people applied for citizenship under CAA

Addressing a press conference at the Lok Sewa Bhawan in Guwahati, Sarma said that out of these applicants, only two have attended interviews with relevant authorities.

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Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said that only eight people have applied for citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) from the state so far.

Addressing a press conference at the Lok Sewa Bhawan in Guwahati, Sarma said that out of these applicants, only two have attended interviews with relevant authorities.

The Assam CM further said that the State conducted outreach programmes in the Barak valley and approached many Hindu Bengali families and asked them to apply for citizenship under CAA. However, they refused to do so saying that they would prefer fighting their cases at the Foreigners Tribunal (FT), Sarma added.

Foreign Tribunals (FT), quasi-judicial bodies exclusive to Assam, are authorised to decide the nationality issue of doubtful citizens, he asserted. Sarma also claimed that most of the Hindu-Bengali families, who were not included in the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), told him that they possessed the necessary documents to prove their Indian citizenship and preferred the FT route rather than applying for through the CAA.

When asked whether the Assam government is dropping cases in Foreigners Tribunals (FT) against Hindu-Bengalis, Sarma termed it misleading. He said the State cannot drop any case. The government is simply advising that before initiating a case, individuals should apply through the CAA portal. Even if a case is filed, there won’t be any outcome because these people are eligible for citizenship, Assam CM emphasised.

CM also assured that he is going to request the Advocate General to flag the issue of CAA so that FTs can give time to people whose cases are going on to apply for citizenship under the newly implemented law.

He added that the government cannot give a direction to the court to pause while deciding the citizenship cases. The FT judges themselves have to decide and they know the latest situation, Sarma said.

He also explained why there was a low number of applications in CAA, saying the Opposition myth that 15-20 lakh Bangladeshis will get citizenship in Assam has been busted completely.

The Chief Minister said that during the anti-CAA movement, five Assamese youths lost their lives. So they made the sacrifice to prevent only these eight people, he asked. This abysmally low number of eight applications, of which only two turned up for interview, is a bit surprising for us also, he said.

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Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge hits out at PM Modi over his 8 crore jobs claim in 4 years

The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha has accused PM Modi of spinning a web of lies about job creation in Mumbai on July 13.

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Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he claimed eight crore jobs in three to four years has silenced those spreading fake news about unemployment.

The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha has accused PM Modi of spinning a web of lies about job creation in Mumbai on July 13.

Hitting out at PM Modi, the Congress chief reminded the Prime Minister what he said while announcing NRA – National Recruitment Agency. In August 2020, Kharge said, PM Modi stated that NRA would prove to be a boon for crores of youth.

Kharge further reminded what PM Modi also said through the Common Eligibility Test, it will eliminate multiple examinations and save precious time as well as resources. It will also give a big boost to transparency.

Questioning the Modi government, Kharge asked why has NRA not conducted a single exam in the last 4 years. He wondered despite allocating Rs 1,517.57 crore to NRA, only Rs 58 crore has been spent in 4 years.

Was NRA deliberately kept inactive to deprive SC, ST, OBC, and EWS youth of their reservation rights? the Congress chief charged. NTA committed fraud, paper leaks, and scams, and NRA didn’t even conduct the exam. BJP-RSS has taken up the task of ruining the education system and destroying the future of the youth, he slammed Centre.

The Congress chief response comes a day after PM Modi cited a recent Reserve Bank of India report on employment, saying that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s commitment to stability and growth.

The Prime Minister took a jibe at the Opposition and said that the creation of eight crore new jobs in the past three to four years has silenced those who are spreading false narratives about unemployment.

PM Modi added that those spreading false narratives are enemies of investment, infrastructure development, and the country’s growth. He also said that Opposition policies betray the youth and hinder employment, adding that he said now Opposition is being exposed as people reject their lies.

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Mamata Banerjee to meet Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar, Akhilesh Yadav in Mumbai

She will be meeting Uddhav Thackeray tomorrow for political talks since they haven’t met after the Lok Sabha elections.

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday that she will meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in Mumbai on Friday to discuss the current political situation in the country.

Speaking to reporters today before leaving for Mumbai to attend the wedding of Mukesh Ambani’s son, as requested by Ambani, Banerjee said she will meet all the leaders in Mumbai tomorrow including Akhilesh Yadav.

The TMC supremo said that she is going to Mumbai as people know that Mukesh Ambani ji’s son is getting married. They have extended the invitation multiple times, and Mukesh Ambani ji has attended the Biswa Bangla convention multiple times upon Bengal’s invitation, she added. She said that she might not have gone, but since Ambanis have repeatedly asked her to come including Mukesh ji, his son, and Neeta ji, she decided to go, Banerjee further said.

On being asked about her political engagements in Mumbai, the West Bengal Chief Minister said she will be meeting Uddhav Thackeray tomorrow for political talks since they haven’t met after the Lok Sabha elections.

Banerjee said she would also go to Sharad Ji’s place and made an appointment to meet him as well. Akhilesh is also coming tomorrow and she could meet him as well. She will return the day after tomorrow, the TMC chief said.

The Shiv Sena, TMC, NCP, and SP are part of the Opposition bloc INDIA at the national level along with the Congress.

The Trinamool Congress chief also pointed out a fake video being circulated by the BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya and a section of the media for highlighting the video, ahead of Assembly bypools on Wednesday, that TMC men beating up a person inside a club.

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