Amarinder lashes out at Akalis
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday lambasted the Akalis for raising a hue and cry over the farm loan waiver package and trying to project themselves as messiahs of the farmers to promote their petty political interests, after pushing them into vicious debt traps with their lopsided policies.
An Akali Dal-BJP delegation on Friday had submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor urging him to direct the Congress Government to implement a complete Rs 90,000 crore farm loan waiver for all farmers and ensure loans of farm laborers and Dalits are also waived off.
The memorandum brought the promise of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to the notice of Governor VP Singh Badnore that all loans taken from banks and private money lenders would be waived off and even submitted the video recording to him. It said besides ensuring a complete loan waiver the Governor should also enjoin the government to waive of all loans of farm labourers and the dalit community also.
The SAD president said only a limited loan of a few per cent of the indebted farmers was being considered for waiver despite cabinet decisions and even an assurance by the Chief Minister in the Vidhan Sabha that the complete loan would be waived. He said small farmers who had incurred a loan of more than Rs 2 lakh had been kept out of its ambit and even marginal farmers with 2.5 acres of land were virtually kept out of the scheme.
Capt Amarinder attacked the Akalis on the issue. Dismissing as “senseless their obnoxious” demand for a Rs 90,000 crore farm loan waiver package after doing nothing for the farmers during their decade-long rule, the Chief Minister said the Akalis were trying desperately to pick at straws in a bid to find some issue to play to the public gallery and revive their political fortunes.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Chief Minister reacted strongly to reports that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor seeking directions to the Government for a Rs 90,000 crore loan waiver. “If they were so concerned about the plight of farmers why did they not do anything for the uplift of the farming community all these years,” he asked, lashing out at the Akalis for playing to the public gallery on such a sensitive issue, which had serious financial implications.
In fact, the pitiable condition of the farmers was the result of the anti-people policies of the erstwhile Akali government, said Capt Amarinder, blaming them squarely for the sufferings of every section of Punjab’s populace.
The Akalis led by the Badals should, instead of indulging in criticism, appreciate the work done so far by the Congress Government in bringing the State’s economy, which they had left in a dismal mess, back on the track to some extent, and in initiating the loan waiver process, said the Chief Minister.
That the Government had succeeded in raising enough funds to start the process of loan waiver for small and marginal farmers indebted to cooperative institutions was a remarkable achievement considering the prevailing situation, he said, adding that the Akalis were obviously trying their best to promote their political interests over the farm debt waiver issue.
Their demand now for complete waiver showed not only shocking lack of understanding of the ground situation in the state but also reflected their desperation to get back into the public limelight after being virtually thrown into political oblivion over the past 11 months, beginning with the Assembly polls in February, said Capt Amarinder.
On the issue of the sacrilege cases, the Chief Minister said the Akalis were obviously looking for ways and means to save their skin in view of their imminent expose for their evident complicity in such cases. But, he warned, these acts would not help the Akalis evade justice for their misdeeds and misdemeanors of their decade long rule.
The Chief Minister urged the Akalis to work as a constructive opposition and join hands with the Government in ensuring the development of the State and all sections of its populace.
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