Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday lashed out at SAD president Sukhbir Badal and his Union Minister wife Harsimrat Badal for misleading the people of the State to promote their petty political agenda in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
Capt Amarinder, in a hard-hitting attack on the Badal couple, said that the concerted manner in which they were running a campaign of deceit and lies had exposed their shameless double standards.
Flaying Sukhbir over his allegations of ration embezzlement by the Congressmen in Punjab, the Chief Minister asserted that the MLAs were supporting the Government’s efforts to ensure that nobody goes hungry.
The MLAs are close to the people and well placed to help out those in immediate or urgent need, which is what they have been doing, said Capt Amarinder. Pointing out that every Congressman in every part of the country was currently helping out people, as part of the party’s concerted efforts to reach out to the needy in this hour of crisis, the Chief Minister said that the Akalis could not relate to this as they had never seen beyond their personal interests.
Capt Amarinder ridiculed Sukhbir’s allegations that the foodgrains received by the State Government had not been distributed among the people, pointing out that even the figures cited by the Akali Dal president were totally incorrect, showing how pathetically removed he was from reality.
“The fact is that the quantity of food grains received by the State Government till June was more than the figures given by Sukhbir, with over 90 percent of it distributed. Under the PMGKAY, the wheat allocated to the State was 2,12,164 MT, of which 1,99,091 MT has been distributed, while of the 10,800 MT Dal allocated, 10,305 MT had been distributed,” he said.
“In addition, under the ATMANIRBHAR scheme of GoI, wheat (per person) and dal (per family) was provided for 14.14 lakh persons, and the State, after grounding the wheat to flour, added dal to make it one kg per person and put in one kg sugar on its own,” he said adding that in fact, the State Government had distributed 17 lakh packets to migrant labourers at the cost of Rs 69 crores from its own funds, with 10 kg atta, two kg dal and two kg sugar.
This data was sufficient to show that Sukhbir’s claims and allegations on foodgrain distribution were totally unsubstantiated and baseless, and as usual, the SAD chief was talking nonsense and indulging in double standards, said the Chief Minister, pointing to the recent backtracking of the Akalis on the issue of three farm sector Ordinances and their earlier contradictory stands on the CAA.
Taking on Harsimrat on the issue of fuel VAT, the Chief Minister said that if she was so concerned about the impact of the escalating fuel prices on the common man, why did she not pressurize the Union Government, in which she is a Cabinet Minister, to put a stop on the uncontrolled hike in prices of diesel and petrol for 22 straight day.
He dismissed her purported concerns about the common man, saying that it was ridiculous that she should react to the State Government’s increase in petroleum tax after consistently ignoring the shocking daily increase in fuel prices by the Central Government.