More than five months after his expulsion from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal on disciplinary grounds, Punjab's former finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal today floated his own political party named Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP).
Addressing a gathering after launching the new party, he said citing its Constitution that no one older than 70 years in the party will hold a ministerial position and its president shall have zero tolerance to corruption and shall function strictly according to meritocracy.
"The constitution of the party has been framed in a manner that there is no scope for any corrupt element to enter. Likewise, nepotism and dynasty system have been vehemently discouraged," Manpreet, who resigned from the state Assembly yesterday, said.
Manpreet had been expelled from SAD on October 20 last year for alleged breach of party discipline after he fell out with the leadership over the issue of a proposed debt waiver to the state from the Centre.
Citing the PPP's Constitution, he said it states that no party member, on reaching the age of 70 years, will hold a position of office as a Minister, Speaker, Parliamentary Secretary in the Union or the State Council of Ministers.
Similarly, it says that no party member will hold a position of office as a Minister, Speaker, Parliamentary Secretary in the Union or the State Council of Ministers if his/her blood relative is appointed to any of the high positions, he said.
The constitution of PPP also limits the tenure of persons holding positions within the party to a maximum of 10 years.
"These are some of the provisions that we have incorporated as a safeguard from future degradation and are to be strictly observed. No one, not even me, is outside the purview of these norms. Apart from the constitution, we have issued a detailed party agenda, which states that PPP shall steer clear from communalism and divisive agenda," said Badal.
He added that there are detailed yardsticks of conduct for all members. "Anyone found wanting shall be severely dealt with and would be asked to leave the party. There simply isn't any scope for people with suspect credentials," he said.
"My vision for Punjab is not that of a state where roads and minds are so narrow that you have to deferentially make way for cavalcades and cacophony of red beaconed VIPs. I dream of a Punjab where we all walk together, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder," he said.
Earlier at the launch of the party, Abhey Singh Sandhu and Bharat Bhushan Thapar, the nephews of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Shaheed Sukhdev respectively, offered their unequivocal support to Manpreet's PPP.
He said despite the administration's every conceivable attempt to dissuade and coerce people from not attending the rally today, people had gathered in huge numbers. "This shows people are fed up with the system and looking for change", he said.
Manpreet Badal Floats New Party
Khatkar Kalan (Nawanshahr)
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