AS Punjab prepares for a political battle in Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency, going to by-election on June 23, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will be in Jalandhar on Wednesday to flag off public transport luxury buses to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, alongwith Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.
The plying of luxury buses directly to Delhi International airport has been a major political issue in Punjab. As only Indo-Canadian Private Limited, a transport company associated with former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s family, had the monopoly by way of a permit to run these buses directly to the airport, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led government has conveyed a message by starting government run buses on this route. While the Congress party had also promised to start the direct buses but was unable to do it as permit from Airport Authority of Indian (AAI) is required.
With AAP government managing to get the permit, AAP chief Kejriwal will be landing in Punjab to flag off the buses from Jalandhar on Wednesday. “It will be a message that AAP wants to bring Punjab back on track and help its economy. By starting these buses, that too with a tariff much lower than Badals buses, the government has conveyed that it not only wanted to help the residents but also the state exchequer,” an AAP leader said.
It would be Kejriwal’s second visit to Punjab after attending swearing in ceremony of Bhagwant Mann in Khatkar Kalan on March 16. After that he had visited Chandigarh to participate in a function of Telangana Chief Minister to give compensation to farmers, who lost their lives during agitation against farm laws.
The party has chosen Jalandhar as it is central and more convenient, said sources. Kejriwal will be landing at Amritsar Airport on Wednesday. From there, he would go to Jalandhar to flag off the bus. Jalandhar is a part of Doaba region, known for concentration of its residents immigrating abroad. The government run bus directly to airport was a long pending demand of NRIs.
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Kejriwal would not be visiting Sangrur on Wednesday. “He will be coming to campaign for party candidate Gurmail Singh in Sangrur in the coming days. Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia will also be there. We will be releasing their schedule in a day or so. They are our star campaigners,” said a spokesperson of AAP. The buses would be flagged off from four stations including Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Chandigarh besides Jalandhar. Security has been beefed up in Jalandhar ahead of visit of two Chief Ministers, who would also be spending a few hours at a local hotel.