Punjab’s newly elected chief minister Bhagwant Mann became the focal point of social media discussions on 31st March 2022 after a video of him making extraordinary claims went viral on the internet.
In the video, Mann is seen claiming that he built a bridge in Punjab for just Rs 6 lakhs as against a quotation of Rs 1.80 crores he had received from a deputy commissioner. The video is from February 2022, when Mann was on the hustings campaigning for the Punjab assembly elections. However, it went viral this week owing to seemingly outlandish claims made by Mann in the video.
In this video, Bhagwant Mann said, “In Dirba village of the Sangrur district, there was a place where it was necessary to make a bridge to pass over the waterway. I asked the deputy commissioner for an estimate. He gave an estimate of Rs 1.80 crores to build a bridge at that place. I was shocked. I thought I get an annual fund of mere Rs 5 crore to spend. How am I to spend almost two crore rupees out of that for such a small thing.”
He further said, “There is an engineer friend of mine whom I asked for the estimate of the same bridge. He quoted me a number – six lakh rupees. See the difference. We made the bridge in just six lakh rupees.”
Certifying his commitment to the work in his own words, he said, “I utilize every penny of the public money as if it is my own. If I spend my money I will think and bargain for a better deal every time.”
However, when the people visited the actual site they found no such bridge existed there. Instead, there were two concrete beams which are often used as poles for electric lines, being laid over the waters. As per a report published by PTC News, locals were outraged at what Mann touted as a bridge. Unhappy with erroneous assertions made by him, people accused Mann of lying and making sensational claims to extract political brownie points. They were also angry with the local AAP MLA Harpal Cheema, who currently holds the office of the finance ministry in the cabinet of the Punjab state government led by Bhagwant Mann.
Netizens slam Bhagwant Mann for making fallacious claims about the ‘Rs 6 lakh bridge’
Netizens shared and reacted to this video and mocked the way this so-called bridge is made in just six lakh rupees. Supreme Court lawyer Shashank Shekhar Jha tweeted, “So Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann in an interview before the elections claimed that their engineer can construct the bridge at only ₹6 Lakh while the official bid is of 1.8 Crores. Now you have the bridge ready at ₹6 Lakhs. Must visit to see this!!!”
So @ArvindKejriwal & @BhagwantMann in an interview before the elections claimed that their engineer can construct the bridge at only ₹6 Lakh while the official bid is of 1.8 Crores.— Shashank Shekhar Jha (@shashank_ssj) March 31, 2022
Now you’ve the bridge ready at ₹6 Lakhs. Must visit to see this!!!
Kanchan Gupta tweeted, “The brilliance of it all: A bridge that costs merely ₹6 lakh. Compliments to the engineer.”
The brilliance of it all: A bridge that costs merely ₹6 lakh. Compliments to the engineer. pic.twitter.com/dhNoYXKFyi— Kanchan Gupta 🇮🇳 (@KanchanGupta) March 31, 2022
Niranjan Chelur tweeted, “Cost of a 9 Mtr Electric pole of Best Quality is about 8000 Rs. Even if U make longer-Wider ones at the site it shall not be more than 25000/Pole.2 poles-50000 Rs. Add Labor Transport 50000 Rs=I Lac. Baaki 5 lac Kahan Gaya? NOT to talk of Safety! If that’s a Bridge-Pegwant is Einstein.”
Cost of a 9 Mtr Electric pole of Best Quality is about 8000 Rs.Even if U make longer-Wider ones at site it shall not be more than 25000/Pole.2 poles-50000 Rs.Add Labor Transport 50000 Rs=I Lac.— NIRANJANA CHELUR (@MAXCHELUR) March 31, 2022
Baaki 5 lac Kahan Gaya?
NOT to talk of Safety!
If thats a Bridge-Pegwant is Einstein.
Bhagwant Mann, a former stand-up comedian turned politician, was elected as Punjab chief minister after AAP swept the state in the assembly elections held earlier this year. Days after his swearing-in ceremony as the Punjab CM, Mann sought Rs 50,000 crore per year for two years from the Centre as financial aid claiming the financial health of the state is very poor, which led many to wonder if it was an attempt at preparing the ground to blame Centre for non-fulfilment of AAP’s freebie promises.