Opposition parties in Punjab, which will elect a new assembly next year, on Tuesday (November 2) called the state government’s decision to reduce power tariff a “poll stunt” and a “fraud on the people”.
Taking to journalists in New Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) co-incharge for Punjab, Raghav Chadha, criticised the decision.
“It’s a chunavi stunt and a jumla by Channi sahab ahead of assembly elections in February-March next year,” he said, referring to Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
“The decision to slash the power tariff has been taken with intent to fool people and secure their votes.”
Chad said the “poll stunt” will be over by the end of the current fiscal as the revised power tariff will remain effective only till March 31, 2022. “I want to caution people of Punjab that they should not fall in the trap of the chunavi stunt and chunavi jumla of Channi sahab. He is doing it because he wants to buy your votes,” Chadha said.
The AAP leader said the Congress government has slashed the power tariff “to lure voters” in the run-up to the polls as “Channi is scared of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s promise of providing free and uninterrupted electricity to people [if voted to power]”.
“It’s only Kejriwal who can provide 24X7 free electricity to people,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal accused Channi of “defrauding the people of Punjab by merely rolling back the 35 per cent hike in power tariff that had been effected during the Congress regime”.
Party spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said two events – at the Punjab Bhawan, addressed by the CM, and at the Congress Bhawan, by state party chief Navjot Sidhu, were a testament to the real intentions of the Congress government.
“Sidhu has exposed the Congress government by saying that it only wants to fool people during the last two months in office besides asking it to specify from where it would come up with the money to honour its promise. The CM should clarify his stand to his own PCC chief if not to the opposition,” he said.
Cheema said the CM announced that people would believe him only if they were able to get one subsidised bill during the remaining part of the Congress government. “This proves the intentions of this government to deceive the people into believing its promises when all of them lie unfulfilled”.
Punjab on Monday slashed power tariff by ₹3 per unit for domestic consumers, a move that will put a burden of ₹3,316 crore per year on the exchequer.
The decision will come into effect immediately and benefit around 69 lakh consumers. There are around 72 lakh domestic consumers in the state.
The announcement was made by Channi after a Cabinet meeting.