Amarinder Singh rules out job quota: India one country

Claiming that his government has implemented more than 85 per cent of promises made in the manifesto, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Thursday said he will go back to the people “after fulfilling each and every promise”.

He also said he was opposed to the policy of “excessive regionalisation” being followed by certain states and will not introduce reservation in jobs for locals. “Amarinder stands for India for Indians. I believe that India is one country,” he said. He was addressing the media on the completion of four years of the Congress government.

Asked about Haryana introducing a law reserving 75 per cent of the jobs for locals in the private sector, he said, “If we start regionalising, we will suffer.” Pointing out that there was no state in India where Punjabis were not flourishing, the CM asked, “Why Punjabis cannot buy land in Himachal Pradesh or do not have certain rights in Kashmir and Rajasthan?”

With polls due in the state early next year, Amarinder batted for election through ballot papers, saying the electronic voting machines could be “fudged”. “We should go back to ballot papers and I am totally in support of this,” he said, adding that he was among the first to oppose the use of EVMs. “Why are advanced countries not having this (EVMs)? Why Japan is not having this? Why do they have ballot paper? Why Sweden has ballot papers? Why the UK has ballot papers?”

To questions about the promises of debt waiver for all farmers and Rs 2,500 a month to all unemployed youth, he said fiscal constraints in the state, especially due to the unprecedented Covid situation, had pushed back his government in implementing some promises. But with revenue increasing, these would be fulfilled as soon as feasible, he said.

He said his government’s biggest achievement is maintaining “Punjabiyat” in the state, Amarinder said people wanted peace so as to conduct their work or business. He said his government had successfully broken the backbone of the drugs chain.

The process of ending various mafia was continuing, he said, adding that it was a gradual process and could not be done in a day. The progress, however, was clearly visible, he said, pointing to the increase in revenue from sand from Rs 35 crore under the SAD-BJP regime to Rs 350 crore now. Similarly, the excise earnings from liquor sales had gone up from about Rs 4,300 crore under the Akalis to Rs 7,200 crore (budgeted) in the current fiscal, he said.

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