Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Thursday hit out at AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and said he was befooling industrialists with tall claims ahead of the 2022 assembly elections in the state.
Terming Mr Kejriwal as an “opportunist”, Mr Channi said “such ill-conceived and politically motivated moves” will not help the AAP convenor to capture electoral ground in Punjab.
He said Mr Kejriwal is not even remotely concerned with the development of state and welfare of its people being an “outsider” and was solely eying on the vote bank of “one or another section”.
In a statement issued, Mr Channi attacked Mr Kejriwal for making “false promises” with the industrialists ahead of the 2022 Punjab polls.
He alleged that Mr Kejriwal, who is also the Delhi chief minister, was befooling them with tall claims based on “blatant lies”.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra also targeted Mr Kejriwal and said the state has already enacted a law to cut red-tapism. He was reacting after the AAP supremo promised to end “inspector raj” and “red-tapism” plaguing the trade and industrial sector if his party is voted to power in the state.
Mr Mohindra said Mr Kejriwal should keep himself updated. He said the state assembly had in March passed the Punjab Anti-Red Tape Bill, 2021.
“The state government has already enacted the Punjab Anti-Red Tape Act, 2021, to promote effective administration of public affairs through simplified and trust based procedures that shall expedite processes and make governance efficient,” Mr Mohindra said in a statement.
He said the provisions of the Act enable the government to impose a fine of up to Rs 50,000 or dismiss a government official or other employees for unnecessary delay in providing services to the citizens or businessmen.
The Act came into force after the governor of Punjab gave his assent to the bill on March 26, 2021, he said.
“I am sending you (Kejriwal) a copy of the Punjab Anti-Red Tape Act, 2021,” Mr Mohindra said.
Mr Kejriwal, who had concluded his two-day visit to Punjab on Wednesday, had also promised the formation of a trade and industry body whose decisions will have to be implemented by the state government. He was addressing traders and industrialists in Jalandhar.
Mr Mohindra termed various promises made by Mr Kejriwal to traders and businessmen for the development and upliftment of industry in Punjab as “mere electoral agenda with blatant lies” ahead of the assembly elections.
He said the government is committed to facilitate investments in Punjab.
Punjab is certainly the most attractive place to invest in terms of incentives, Mr Mohindra said, claiming the state has the best industrial policy.
Chief Minister Channi also targeted Mr Kejriwal over his promise to provide 24 hours electricity in the state if his party is voted to power in the forthcoming assembly polls.
Probably, Mr Kejriwal was unaware that the Punjab government is already giving electricity supply round the clock except for maintenance and unforeseen situations, he said.
About Mr Kejriwal’s claim to put an end to “inspector raj”, Mr Channi said his government has already abolished it across the state.
The chief minister said VAT refunds of nearly Rs 1,700 crore have already been released to the industrialists in the state during the last three years and only Rs 70 crore is pending.
Mr Channi said no ‘hafta system/gunda tax‘ exists in the state as claimed by Mr Kejriwal.
He said Punjab enjoys peaceful labour relations and no major strike has been witnessed in the last three decades and there are no domicile restrictions in hiring the labour.