Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday trashed as ‘political theatrics’ Sukhbir Singh Badal’s comments on the loan waiver announced by the Congress in Punjab and other states, and urged the Akali leader to give up such theatrics if he wanted his party to remain a serious contender in the political arena.Lashing out at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president for his continued efforts to exploit the sentiments of the farmers, to whom the former regime had failed to deliver even an iota of benefits, Captain Amarinder Singh said the former deputy chief minister was trying to mislead the farming community in a desperate bid to wean it away from the Congress.Captain Amarinder Singh pointed out that Congress president Rahul Gandhi had already promised waiver of loans for the beleaguered farmers across the country if the party was elected to power in the forthcoming elections. It was evident that the SAD-BJP combine was scared out of their wits by the Congress leadership’s promise and their track record of delivering on their poll promises in all the states in which the party had been elected to power.The Punjab Chief Minister ridiculed Sukhbir’s blatant attempts to divert public attention from the erstwhile Akali-BJP regime’s failure on all counts. For 10 years, the Badals did not take cognizance of the plight of the farmers and were now shedding crocodile tears for them, he added. Having gone through extreme pain and suffering under the SAD-BJP government for a decade, neither the farmers nor any other section of Punjab’s populace were now willing to be deceived by the SAD leadership, said the Chief Minister.Countering Sukhbir’s baseless allegation with hard facts and figures, Captain Amarinder Singh pointed out that his government had delivered on its promise of loan waiver despite the severe financial constraints and fiscal mess it had inherited from the Badal regime. Not just the farmers of Punjab but those of the entire nation had appreciated his government’s initiative, which had been replicated now by the newly installed Congress regime in three other states, he added.
Sharing numbers, the Chief Minister pointed out that his government had so far disbursed Rs. 3595.04 crore to 428246 farmers against their debts, with the process for loan waiver to 159632 small farmers also initiated. Of this, Rs. 1815.78 crore had been disbursed to 317965 marginal farmers against loans taken from cooperative banks and Rs. 1779.26 crore to 110281 marginal farmers towards loans from commercial banks.These are hard facts that no amount of fabrications by Sukhbir or anyone else can negate, said Captain Amarinder Singh, challenging the SAD president to cite even one example of any benefit provided by their government to the farmers.Sukhbir’s brazen attempts to lie his way out of the current mess in which his party and leadership is caught at present were nothing more than a sign of frustration and desperation, said the Chief Minister. With SAD completely marginalized in Punjab, and their ally, the BJP, also clearly losing political ground, the Akali chief was looking for a way out of the political alienation which the coalition was facing ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, said Captain Amarinder Singh.Faced by imminent defeat in the upcoming parliamentary polls, the Badals were now running around like scared rabbits, with no hole to hide, said the Chief Minister, adding that if they continued with their desperate efforts to cheat the people, they would be thrown into political oblivion forever by the electorate.