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Bjp Loses Out On Urban Package Funds Again

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BJP loses out on urban package funds again

Naveen S Garewal/TNS

Chandigarh, September 11

The Punjab Government has decided to spend Rs 317 crore in 109 municipal committees of the state where the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has a sizeable vote bank. But in what has come as a rude shock to its alliance partner Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is that the SAD has left out 11 municipal committees considered very important for the BJP. This is a clear signal that the SAD is considering strengthening its own position, leaving the BJP to take care of its political fortunes.

These 11 municipal committees, that fall in eight Vidhan Sabha seats held by the BJP, have been left out of the economic package for improvement of civic amenities.The decision is bound to adversely impact the BJP’s political fortunes. After the BJP’s high command forced the resignation of four of its ministers and replaced some of them, there has been a complete lack of leadership in the party, resulting in the SAD browbeating its alliance partner. The SAD had committed to give the BJP a sum of Rs 800 crore for development of urban areas that form the BJP vote bank. The then Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, in a letter dated August 27, 2010, had written to the then BJP leader in the Vidhan Sabha committing to give Rs 800 crore in two instalments of Rs 400 each and making a budgetary provision for the same. But the BJP prevailed upon the SAD to raise this amount to Rs 1100 crore, which the government was to arrange through a bank loan.

But with none in the BJP pursuing the case, the SAD has scaled down the grant to Rs 317 crore, excluding areas considered BJP strongholds. The Chief Minister earlier this week asked PUDA to arrange the money through a loan and the Finance Department has been instructed to pursue the matter on an urgent basis.

The list of beneficiary municipalities excludes the Municipal Corporations of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar from where BJP contests more than one seat. The municipal committees that have been left out for grant of funds are Phagwara, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Abohar, Rajpura, Hoshiarpur, Mukerian, Dasuya, Batala, Dinanagar and Sujanpur.


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