Launching a tirade against Sukhbir Badal for unleashing mafia rule to destroy the state in the past 10 years, Punjab Congress president and Gurdaspur nominee Sunil Jakhar on Wednesday said with his Sukhvillas renting out rooms for Rs 5 lakh a night, the Akali leader naturally found Rs 2 lakh loan waiver inadequate for famers.Jakhar lashed out at Sukhbir for criticising the farm loan waiver as too less, and said had the Akalis left money in the exchequer the Congress government would have done much more for the farmers and other sections of the society.The Congress candidate for the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha by-poll further ridiculed Sukhbir for holding a Jabr Virodhi rally after destroying the law and order and creating jungle raj in the state.Despite their best efforts to put up a united front, the fact was that there were wide fissures between SAD and BJP, neither of which understood the pulse of the people of Punjab, said Jakhar, addressing a series of worker meetings across Gurdaspur. The SAD had been relegated to Number 3 slot in the Assembly elections, said the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president, adding that even the BJP had realized that the Badals and Akalis had nothing left in Punjab.The absence of Parkash Singh Badal from yesterday’s rally of Sukhbir showed that the latter had taken complete control of SAD, which was itself in the doldrums after plunging the state into turmoil with its destructive policies, Jakhar declared.
Hitting out at the Badals for their supreme arrogance of power, Jakhar pointed out that the extent of their callous indifference to the needs of the people was evident from the fact that those who did not prostrate themselves before the Akali top brass were implicated in false cases. The Badals had left nothing for the state, destroying every business – from sand to buses, he added.Had Captain Amarinder Singh been chief minister these past 10 years, things would have been different for Punjab, Jakhar noted, adding a Congress government at the helm would have made Punjab a developed state. The Capt Amarinder government had already transformed things for the better in the past six months, said Jakhar, pointing to the farm loan waiver and abolition of truck unions to break the monopoly of Jathedars as examples of the achievements of the current regime.Jakhar also listed out the Rs 5/unit electricity tariff for industries, increase in Shagun grant and enhancement of old age pension as some of the other major accomplishments of the Congress government in Punjab. Referring to the development of Gurdaspur, Jakhar said he would plead all local issues with the Chief Minister besides raising them in Parliament House. Just giving out the MPLAD fund was not enough, the Centre needs to resolve several critical issues of Punjab’s border belt, of which Gurdaspur is a major part, he said, adding that he would take on the Modi government for the injustice meted out to Punjab.
Besides revival of Punjab Roadways and increase in the capacity of the Gurdaspur sugar mill, Jakhar promised that he would fight with the Centre on change in policy to enable industrial development and employment generation in Punjab. He lamented that the central government had failed to release MNREGA wages for the past six months, further adversely impacting the employment scene in Punjab.Jakhar also vowed to take up the issue of the Rs 32000 crore food grain scam in Parliament and bring back every paisa of the state’s money. The state government would continue to fight for farm loan waiver from the Centre as a matter of right, he added. The PPCC president said he would ask Modi in Parliament to `Sada haq ethey rakh’ (`Give us our due’).Pointing out that the central government had taken a loan of Rs 1 lakh crore from Japan at 0.1% interest while charging 8.5% interest on loan from Punjab, Jakhar said "Aarhitya ta BJP govt bani baithi hai" (It is the BJP government which has become the biggest Aarhityas for farmers).MLAs Kulbir Singh Zira, Kuljit Singh Nagra, Hardyal Singh Kamboj and Barindermeet Singh Pahra joined Jakhar as he went around the constituency, meeting Congress workers and others in the run-up to the October 11 by-poll.