Punjab– “Mission Punjab”, Aam Aadmi Party’s modus operandi for the 2022 Assembly Polls in the state was launched on Monday. National head of AAP, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced that if his party is voted to power in the state, the party will transfer Rs 1000 per month to every women’s account in Punjab, aged 18 years and above. This announcement by AAP along with freebies and schemes comes at a time when the state is struggling under debt.
Though the voter list for the 2022 election is not revealed yet, AAP has projected that this scheme can benefit at least 1 crore women in Punjab. This estimation is based on the data by the Election Commission of India that shows during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections there were 96.19 lakh women voters in Punjab. Now, if AAP succeeds to form a government in Punjab, then it would cost the party Rs 12,000 crore per year to pay 1 crore women Rs 1000 per month. On the question that where would the party arrange for the amount, Kejriwal said, “There is no dearth of money with any government, all that’s required is the intention to work for people”.
Punjab currently is reeling under debt. In 2017, the Congress government inherited a debt of Rs 1.82 lakh crore from the SAD-BJP government that had been in power for 10 years in Punjab. The budget estimates for 2021-22 have projected the outstanding debt to increase to approximately Rs 2.82 lakh crore. This becomes Rs 2.73 lakh crore after taking into account Rs 8,359 crore received as back-to-back loans in lieu of GST compensation during 2020-21.
Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had announced a cut in power rates for domestic consumers earlier this month by Rs 3 across three slabs with loads up to 7 KW. This will lead to an additional burden of more than Rs 3,300 crore on the treasury.
The party will announce its chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Punjab Assembly poll before BJP and Congress. Kejriwal said, “Parties either declare the CM candidate or they don’t. The parties which declare CM candidate do so at close to the polls. So far, Congress has not declared its candidate. They are not saying whether Sidhu or (Sukhjinder) Randhwa will be the choice or Channi will continue.” He added, “I want to assure you that (in Punjab) we will do it before others.”