Punjab Congress president and Gurdaspur candidate Sunil Jakhar on Sunday questioned Sukhbir Badal’s continued silence on Sucha Singh Langah even two days after the latter was booked in a rape case, while deriding BJP candidate Sarwan Salaria’s defence of the former minister.Even as he challenged Salaria to debate with him on any issue - from GST to demonetisation, farmers, industry or unemployment, Jakhar described as shameful his opponent’s statement describing the rape case as an old one, and said this did not absolve Langah of the heinous crime.Addressing a series of worker meetings in Batala, Jakhar said Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Badal had not bothered to utter a single word on the issue though two days had passed since the police filed the case, after which Langah had absconded.Charging the Badals with destroying Punjab on all fronts, Jakhar came down heavily on Parkash Singh Badal for garnering votes in the name of the Panth and the farmers and then failing to do anything on either count, as exposed by incidents such as Behbal Kalan (Fardikot) firing and farmer suicides.
The PPCC president also came down heavily on the Badals for tagging him an `outsider’, saying he had been taking up issues of all areas of Punjab first as leader of Opposition and now as Punjab Congress chief. He recalled that Parkash Singh Badal often took him to meet Dr Manmohan Singh because, as leader of Opposition, he would strongly plead the state’s case before the then prime minister.Promising to be the voice of every section of Punjab, particularly the poor and the oppressed, in Parliament, Jakhar said he was contesting the poll not to be an MP but to become a `sewak’ of the people. Describing Salaria as a `Sarmaydaar’ (businessman), Jakhar said a person who did not understand the pain and anguish of the people could not take up their issues with the Centre.Observing that the minorities were feeling extremely unsafe under the Modi rule, Jakhar said Punjab continued to remain peaceful and harmonious because of the Captain Amarinder led government. The Congress government was working in the interest of the people, including the Gurdaspur border area, said Jakhar, assuring that a roadmap would be drawn for the development of the constituency.
The ill-conceived and anti-people policies of the SAD-BJP government had led to the closure of 80% of the industry in Batala and sugarcane farmers had not got their dues for the past two years, forcing them to take the extreme step of suicide, Jakhar pointed out, adding that the farmers could not celebrate Diwali in the past 10 years as they would be camping in Mandis for release of paddy payment. However, with the Captain Amarinder government at the helm, farmers can now celebrate the festival, he added.Not only were the farmers getting prompt payments but wheat procurement had been done in a smooth manner and the produce was sold at double the prices since the Congress government took over, Jakhar said.The PPCC president, who also addressed an ex-servicemen rally at village Khokar, said only Captain Amarinder could protect their interests, and in fact the interests of all sections of the society. Pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made 72 promises to faujis, Jakhar said none had been fulfilled. He appealed to the ex-servicemen to cast their vote for Congress to show what they thought about the BJP’s performance at the Centre.Jakhar was accompanied in today’s meetings by MLA Pargat Singh, Congress leader Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli Majithia and former MLA Ashwani Sehkri.