News Brief

Cracks Widen In I.N.D.I Alliance As Congress Questions Punjab Government Over 'Rs 50,000 Crore Debt'

Nayan Dwivedi

Sep 25, 2023, 04:57 PM | Updated 04:57 PM IST

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

The partnership between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) within the newly established Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) appears to be deteriorating.

The latest development involved the Congress taking on the AAP government in Punjab after Governor Banwarilal Purohit asked for details of the utilization of a Rs 50,000 crore loan from the state government.

Alok Sharma, Congress leader, reacted to Governor Purohit's letter to the Punjab government by seeking answers from the AAP-led administration regarding the Rs 50,000 crore debt.

Sharma emphasized, "The facts indicate that as soon as Bhagwant Mann assumed office, he promptly approached the Central government requesting a financial aid package of Rs 50,000 crore."

Furthermore, Sharma added, "Previously, AAP's national convenor Arvind Kejriwal had assured that the government would retrieve this money. It is now imperative for the AAP government to elucidate the reasons behind the state's substantial debt."

Sharma also alleged that the AAP government in Punjab focused on cosmetic changes, such as the renovation of old buildings, and that their touted Mohalla clinics were primarily a display. According to him, these actions have adversely impacted the state's economy.

Harpal Singh Cheema, Punjab's Finance Minister, responded to Governor Purohit's letter by asserting that the Governor should not be engaged in discussions regarding the state's financial obligations.

Cheema pointed out that the present government inherited a staggering debt of Rs 3 lakh crore from prior administrations, including those led by the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition and the Congress.

This debt accumulation had resulted in the payment of substantial interest amounts.

Although some high-ranking AAP leaders have aligned with opposition parties, including the Congress, to challenge the BJP in the forthcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Punjab Cabinet Minister Anmol Gagan Maan has unequivocally stated that there will be no electoral alliance between the ruling AAP and the Congress within the state.

Gagan Maan emphasized that the AAP intends to independently contest all 13 Lok Sabha seats in the forthcoming elections, with Chief Minister Mann leading the campaign.

This decision rules out any seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress, signifying a division between the state units of the two parties.

Punjab Congress leaders also staunchly opposed any electoral alliance with the ruling AAP in the state.

Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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