Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Badal on Friday announced that the party would give 50 per cent seats to women in panchayat and local body elections, besides reserving 33 per cent seats for women in the state Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
Addressing the first all-women conference at the Maghi Mela in Muktsar Sahib, he said, “The SAD is also committed to giving a boost to all social welfare initiatives concerning womenfolk once we come to power in the state.”
He said the ‘Shagun’ scheme, which was discontinued by the AAP Government, would be revived.
“We will also give lentils under the ‘Aata-daal’ scheme which has been severely curtailed, besides increasing the old-age pension to Rs 2,500 per month,” he said.
Badal also lauded the overwhelming response to the women’s conference organised by the Istri Akali Dal under the leadership of Hargobind Kaur. He said the manner in which women had congregated to the conference proved the high esteem in which womenfolk hold the SAD.
He appealed to the women as the heirs of Mata Bhag Kaur to unite under the banner of the party to strengthen it even further.
Asserting that Punjabis had been betrayed both by the Congress and AAP, Badal said, “The Congress promised to waive off farmer loans but did nothing.”
He said the AAP made grandiose promises of doubling the supply of flour under the ‘Aata-daal’ scheme, increasing the old-age pension to Rs 2,500 per month and giving Rs 1,000 per month to women.
He added that instead of increasing the pension amount the number of beneficiaries had been reduced drastically even as women were still waiting to receive Rs 1,000 per month as promised.
Badal also alleged that the drug menace had reached alarming proportions because AAP legislators were taking lakhs of rupees per month from drug dealers and were preventing the police force from arresting traffickers.
Former union minister and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal spoke about the sacrifices made by women in the history of Punjab from the period of the Guru Sahiban to present times.
She alleged that the AAP was fooling Punjabis by trumpeting the ‘Zero bill’ slogan even as all other social welfare benefits had been cut, be it ‘Shagun’, ‘Aata-daal’ or old-age pension.
She said even the ‘Zero bill’ slogan was being disproved with people complaining of huge power bills.