Quoting the hauntingly beautiful lines of the poet Allama Sir Mohd Iqbal: “Pirona Ek hee Tasbi Mein, En Bikhrey Hoe Dano Ka, Gar Mushkal Hai Toh Iss Mushkal Ko Aasan Karke Chhodunga…,” Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Tuesday presented his fourth budget.Though it was his maiden budget presentation in the Congress government, this ‘poetic minister’ has performed the similar responsibility in the first three years of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal government’s 2007-2012 tenure. It was rejoicing moment for many in the Vidhan Sabha including the MLAs, visitors and the media persons, when Manpreet was quoting one after another poet’s words at intervals.Before coming to the financial details, the finance minister was heard telling the Assembly, apparently trying to win the confidence of his colleagues: “Na Rha Chand Sitaron Ka Main Muhtaz Kabhi, Apni Mehnat Ke Sada Maine Ujale Dekhe, Tazkra Uss Ne Lakiron Ka Wahin Shodh Dea, Jab Najumi Ne Mere Hathon Ke Shale Dekhe. Manpreet, who formally joined the Congress after losing 2014 MP polls, which contested on Congress symbol despite keeping his political party PPP alive till then, on Tuesday heaped praise for Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh in his budget speech. He also tried his best to connect with masses of Punjab by citing the bravery and pains of different sections of the society. ‘Shaq na kar meri sookhi aankhon pe, aansu yun bhi bahaye jaate hein,’ was the couplet he used to narrate the ‘remorseful’ fiscal condition of the statement with also ensuring a positive message related to his determination to set the things right. Since he separated from Akali Dal in 2011, Manpreet’s speeches have always carried a mention about Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s ideology.The budget speech was also no different as recalling national martyr Bhagat Singh, he said: “Koi Kabil Hai Toh Hum Shaney Kae Dette Hain, Dhoodhney Wallon Ko Duniya Bhee Naein Dete Hain.” Though the speech was laden with poetry from famous poets of the subcontinent, Manpreet also quoted global economists like Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and the French economist Thomas Piketty as he spoke of how Punjab’s economy can benefit from modern global financial trends.
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