CHANDIGARH: To remind the Congress government in Punjab led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh about its pre-poll promise of giving smartphones to youth in the state, the Shiromani Akali Dal legislators on Thursday put up a stall of dummy smartphones outside the Punjab Assembly.
Led by senior SAD leaders Bikram Singh Majithia and Parminder Singh Dhindsa, the Akali Dal legislators offered the dummy smartphones, which had the photograph of the Chief Minister, to legislators of all parties who were entering the Assembly complex on the third day of the ongoing budget session here.
"We have put up this stall to remind the Amarinder Singh government about the promise of smartphones made to the youth of Punjab," Majithia told the media.
He said the Congress government has been in power for two years and had failed to fulfil its pre-election promise made in the party manifesto.
The Punjab government, which is under a debt of Rs 2.10 lakh crore, has recently announced that the process to provide smartphones to youth had started.
The SAD protest on the issue evoked sharp reactions from leaders of other parties. Congress legislator Rana Gurjit Singh said the Akalis were indulging in antics as general elections were round the corner.
"People are not going to be impressed by such things. What were the Akalis doing when they were in power in the state for 10 years (2007-2017)," he asked.
AAP legislator Kultar Singh said that the Akalis were indulging in dramatics and were not bothered about problems being faced by the people in Punjab.
"The Akali Dal leadership did nothing for the state in its rule of 10 years. With what face are they raising such issues," Lok Insaf Party legislator Simarjeet Singh Bains said.
The Punjab cabinet in January approved modalities for providing smartphones to youth in the state. It said that graduating students of government schools, colleges and technical institutions will be covered in the first phase of the scheme.
The cabinet proposed that students would be required to submit self-certification stating that they do not already possess a smartphone.
The government said that the first batch of smartphones would be distributed in March. The Congress had promised to provide smartphones to around 50 lakh youth before Assembly elections in February 2017.