CAUGHT IN A piquant situation where it finds itself incapable of living up to its election promise of providing a wholesome meal for Rs 5, the Amarinder Singh government has now reached out to the most unlikely quarters – the SGPC.
Top sources among the army of advisors crowding the second floor of Punjab Civil Secretariat said the government has pleaded with the SGPC that since the religious body provides free meals or langar, it might as well do so through the infrastructure of the public sector.
The Punjab Government is ready to pay the SGPC Rs 5 for every meal. Sources said Captain Amarinder Singh, who counts many dera heads among his supporters, may also personally reach out to these votebanks cum holy crowd-pullers to bail out the government.
Egged-on by Prashant Kishore, the Congress had made the promise of Rs 5-meal in its election manifesto but now finds itself in the soup. "Atta-dal ka bhaav maloom ho gaya sarkaar ko, iss liye problem ho gayee hai,” said an advisor sheepishly.
Sources said the decision to gulp down the embarrassment at having to plead with the SGPC for help was taken at a working dinner where royale cuisine was served from a platter.
"Once we are in the government, we tend to develop a taste for humble pie. Most politicians survive by eating their own words, so it was not difficult to put aside our pride and go to the Akalis with folded hands. After all, it is all for the poor people of the state. If there are no poor, then there will be no freebies, and then who will vote for us,” a senior minister said.
Three bonafide members of royal coterie said they also plan to approach the karseva babas, adept at cladding unprecedented amounts of marble and gold on various religious shrines, to help break the mafia’s grip over sand and bajri business.
"In fact, Prashant Kishore’s Yale-Harvard team might be asked to work with the karseva babas to develop a Punjab-specific business model where regular and acceptable level of commission could be fixed and monopoly ensured without enraging the people to the extent to which Akalis had taken the game,” said a senior officer helping the government to calibrate cut-levels.
Punjab Today confirms that its information has been gathered in the best traditions of April 1 bread and butter journalism where humble pie is served from a platter, even when royals crowd the table. Enjoy the free news langar, at least we are not asking for even Rs 5 per story.