Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday challenged Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to prove if former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal availed ‘five pensions’ as a legislator or face a defamation suit for ‘peddling lies.’
In a statement here, the SAD president said that Chief Minister Mann was continuing with the defamation campaign unleashed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seven years back and was now trying to woo the electorate of Gujarat with lies and false promises.
“Mr Bhagwant Mann may think that he can lie and mislead the people but we will hold him to his words. Now he will have to substantiate his claims by placing the record of the same in public domain or apologize for the utterances. If he does neither we will take recourse to legal action against him,” he added.
Sukhbir Singh Badal said that the truth was that the five-time Chief Minister had written to the Protem Speaker immediately after his 2022 Assembly election loss and asked that pension due to him for serving ten terms as a legislator should not be sent to him.
“Mr Parkash Singh Badal requested that this money should be used for public welfare, especially education of the girl child,” he added.
Stating that this communication was a matter of Punjab Assembly record, Sukhbir said that the former CM had also made it clear in the letter that never in his life had he claimed pension as a former Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA).
“In light of these facts, it is clear that the CM (Mann) is making mischievous comments purposely to show the SAD in poor light and herald himself as a messiah who is saving taxpayers money of Rs 5 lakh per month. Actually, the opposite is true. The entire AAP campaign is built on propaganda with Rs 700 crore being earmarked for advertisements in the current financial year only,” the SAD chief said.
“Hundreds of crores have already been spent on advertising AAP across the country, including poll bound States like Gujarat. This is taxpayers’ money of Punjabis, which should have been utilized for development in the state. This also shows how interested the chief minister really is in utilising public money for welfare of Punjabis,” he added.