Punjab Congress president and Gurdaspur by-election candidate Sunil Jakhar on Tuesday challenged Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely to come out with information on who had really benefitted from the demonetisation decision of the central government.Addressing a series of worker meetings across Bhoa, Jakhar demanded from Jaitley, who was slated to campaign for BJP candidate Sarwan Salaria in Gurdaspur, a clarification on the demonetisation impact. Let him come and tell the people who, apart from the Ambanis and the Adanis had benefitted from demonetisation, challenged Jakhar.The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president recalled that former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had warned that such a move would lead to decline in GDP by 2%, which in simple terms meant a loss of 4 crore jobs. The common man was suffering and struggling to manage three meals a day under the Mogi regime, he noted, adding that only corporates would be celebrating Diwali this year.Jakhar observed that the central government had earned Rs 9 lakh crores in three years because of decrease in fuel prices in the international market.
Out of this money, the Centre should give Rs 1 lakh crore to Punjab instead of just handing out doles to corporates, he added.Observing that concessions were being given to other states by the central government even though Punjab, as a border state, had similar problems, Jakhar warned that no industry would come to the border belt of the state if such anti-Punjab policies of the Centre continued. Jakhar also demanded that the MNREGA scheme started by the UPA government should be implemented properly by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.Promising holistic development of the region, Jakhar said the Congress government was working to ensure all basic amenities for the people, including clean drinking water and proper roads.He cited the poor condition of the roads in the area to highlight the total lack of development under the erstwhile Badal regime. The Badals had spent crores of rupees on building 7-star hotels while ignoring the basic development needs of Punjab, he said, pointing out that the Akalis failed to make any roads and there were no factories for 25 kms around the region. The Badals had vowed to rule for 25 years but were kicked out of power by the people after 10 years because of their anti-people policies, said Jakhar, adding that the Akali leaders had made the government a family business.
The Akalis were only interested in filling up their own pockets, and those of their cronies with fake blue cards under the atta/dal scheme, said Jakhar, promising stringent action against those found guilty of any wrongdoing under the previous regime. Pointing out that Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had set up a commission to identify the wrongdoers, Jakhar said while the Congress government would not indulge in political vendetta, anyone found guilty of any misdeed will not be spared.Punjab needs innovative agricultural techniques, which the Captain Amarinder government would provide, said Jakhar, expressing concern about the pitiable condition of farmers in the state. After being devastated by the Akali rule, the farmers were also now facing hardship because of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre, said Jakhar, pointing out that the farming community was the worst affected due to the sky rocketing diesel prices.AICC Secretary Harish Chaudhary and Bhoa MLA Joginder Pal were also present at the meetings. Choudhary, in his address, criticised Modi government’s decisions as being against the interests of the nation, with unemployment going up under the NDA regime. Referring to the terrorist attacks in Dinanagar and Pathankot, Jakhar said the Modi government failed to safeguard the country, in contrast with the Manmohan Singh government, which had performed extremely well on the border security front.