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New party should result from people’s movement, says Manpreet Badal

Being out of power has taught Manpreet Badal what it is like to stand ‘tall’ as a leader. After the massive show of strength at his Amritsar rally on Sunday, the ousted Punjab Finance Minister on Monday said his proposed people’s movement – Jago Punjab Yatra – should lead to formation of a new political party in Punjab and not the other way round.

“How am I expected to form a party before knowing if Punjab’s people agree with my thinking? I have to first see if there is acceptance for my programmes and policies in the whole of Punjab,” he says.

And the idea that such an acceptance should precede formation of any new political front has come from examples in Punjab’s politics. He cites instances of former Union minister SS Ramoowalia, who floated his Lok Bhalai Party in 1999. “I cannot start a party like Ramoowalia and ask people to join it. I have to first set an agenda and see if there are any takers for it. And my people’s movement is about awakening people about all that ails Punjab and then seek direction and feedback on the radical reforms I have proposed in my agenda,” he says while countering the criticism that the said reforms are utopian.

They are radical but not utopian. Is achieving a rate of growth of 10 per cent per annum by 2017 or eliminating VIP culture from Punjab utopian? Seeing the alarming increase in drug addiction among Punjab’s youth, should liquor vends still be allowed within the periphery of a village? Should not the ones who have been in power for two terms of a government make way for younger, fresh ideas? The problem is nobody is setting an agenda for Punjab. The Congress too is just talking about avenging the so-called atrocities on its workers. Who is talking about Punjab which needs a cleaning of its entire system right from social, economic to political,” adds Badal.

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