A day after his party got a miserable drubbing in the Assembly polls, Peoples Party of Punjab chief Manpreet Singh Badal on Wednesday accused Shiromani Akali Dal of using money power to garner votes.
"A big factor that went against PPP was the use of money power by SAD to come to power," he said at a press conference after his party failed to open its account in the 117-member state assembly. PPP had 92 candidates in fray.
He alleged that SAD spent around Rs eight to Rs 10 crore in each of the Assembly constituencies to woo voters.
"This entire money spent to woo voters by the SAD had been used from the Punjab coffers...they looted around Rs 10,000 crore just to win over state...I am for sure that the SAD-Bharatiya Janata Party government will not be able to pay salaries to its employees in the month of March," he said.
"One of the biggest problems faced by the PPP during polls was it could not match the money power of established parties," he alleged adding that "its an open secret that Akalis and Congress spent close to Rs 4,000 crore to put up a good defence at the hustings."
He strongly said that the Election Commission of India needed to address the problem of money power. "The SAD could perform well only due to money power," he alleged.
However, the SAD refuted allegations of Manpreet, an estranged nephew of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Answering a question on Congress President Sonia
Gandhi's reported remark in Delhi that PPP cut into the vote bank of the party, Manpreet denied the charge. "We cut into the vote bank of both Akalis and the Congress and it was unintentional," he said.
"To protect our party's ideology it was important that our vote share is credible...our idea in the assembly polls was to prop up a party...bigger parties like Congress and BJP took several years to get established," he said.
On his party's loss, he said that people of Punjab ignored issues like corruption, drugs, economy and unemployment while exercising their franchise.
"No sector doing well during the Akalis regime and people of Punjab will realise this in the coming few months," he said. Adopting a tough posture despite poor performance of PPP, he said, "our party will play an active role of opposition in Punjab."