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Sukhbir Badal promises free laptops for students in election manifesto
Joining the likes of Karunanidhi, Jayalalitha and the Samajwai Party, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal announced free laptops and LPG connections to students and BPL families respectively in the state. Political parties are trying their best to lure the voters by offering the best freebies.

AS THE elections draw nearer, political parties are trying their best to lure voters and following the suit is the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab. Besides promising free laptops to higher secondary students, it has made a number of promises as it released its election manifesto. “If our party is voted to power again, we will provide an allowance of Rs 1,000 a month for three years to educated jobless youth to upgrade their skills and a free LPG connection to all BPL families along with creation of ten lakh jobs for youths and root out the corruption by strengthening the Lokayukta,” promised Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab who is also the President of Shiromani Akali Dal, while releasing the election manifesto at Ludhiana.  


In a impressive function organized by the Party at Ludhiana, Junior Badal further added that the SAD would provide medical care to the weaker sections, enhance old-age pension and increase the grant under the ‘Shagun scheme’ to Rs 31,000 and to bring daughters of ex-servicemen under it. He also promised free medical treatment up to Rs 2 lakh to those, belonging to the weaker sections of the society and those with blue cards.


 The manifesto promised something for everybody. Specially targeting the youth, unemployed, weaker sections and women, the manifesto promises to continue with the welfare schemes. “The objective is to ensure that the benefits reach the needy and promises don’t remain only on paper,” said Sukhbir.


The manifesto promises free laptops for higher secondary students, free education to students from “blue-card” families — till graduation for girls and plus two for boys. The atta-dal scheme remains. The “blue-card” families will also get free treatment up to Rs 2 lakh. The price of flour will be brought to Re 1 per kg initially, and given free eventually.


All BPL families will get free LPG connections and the landless free five-marla plots. The manifesto promises sports scholarships, a special provident fund scheme for farmers and power connections to weaker sections of society for farming within a year. Titled “Development For All”, Sukhbir announced several initiatives to revolutionise infrastructure, health, education, and agriculture sectors and promised to generate employment.


The manifesto promises to make Punjab power surplus within a year, to create 10 lakh jobs for the youth, including two lakh in the government sector, and an allowance of Rs 1,000 to unemployed youth of weaker sections. It also promises to strengthen the Lokayukta and to bring all public servants under its jurisdiction.


The Deputy CM announced that Mohali and Amritsar would be developed as IT hubs and computer education made compulsory for schoolchildren. Sukhbir claimed that unlike the Congress, the Akali Dal did not rush with its manifesto. “After deep thought, we have found concrete ways to increase the state income in the next five years to meet the challenges of growth,” he said.


The manifesto promises to give Class IX and X girls’ free bicycles to boost female literacy. Under a sports scholarship scheme, more than 2 lakh youth (1,000 per district) will be selected. Each sportsperson will be given Rs 12,000 per year each for three years. If a player brings laurels to the state at the national or the international level, the scholarship period will be extended to four and five years, respectively.

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