The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal should be booked for abetting farmer suicides by backstabbing the peasantry through a bogus farm loan waiver promise made in the Congress party’s election manifesto headed by him. In a statement here, former minister and SAD general secretary Bikram Singh Majithia said the election manifesto was Manpreet Badal’s baby. “He was not only Chairman of the Manifesto drafting committee but also claimed he had spent six months to finalise its contents. It can be surmised that Manpreet Badal included the complete farm loan waiver clause in the manifesto after due thought. Now therefore he cannot escape responsibility for the death of 120 farmers who committed suicide after realizing he had no intention to honour the promise made to them”. Stating that Manpreet Badal was solely responsible for the present condition of the State farmers as well as khet mazdoor, Mr Majithia said the finance minister had promised a complete loan waiver of nationalized and cooperative banks as well as arhatiyas and knew that this amounted to a waiver of Rs 90,000 crore. “Manpreet Badal also knew about the financial condition of the State due to his earlier stint as finance minister.
That means he deliberately led farmers to commit suicide by befooling them through various tactics, including getting them to fill forms to give the impression that he would honour his promise”. The Akali leader said what was tragic was that immediately after the election; Manpreet Badal started doing a flip flop. He started saying he would implement his promise but that there was no money to do so. “The Congress kept buying time by instituting a Committee to ‘study’ its promise and eventually came out with a fraudulent waiver which has also not been executed till now. From a promised loan waiver of Rs 90,000 crore, chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh promised to waive off Rs 20,000 crore but Manpreet Badal came out with a Rs 1,500 crore waiver in the State budget. But even this money is yet to be released to the farmers and no notification has been sent to banks to stop charging interest from farmers. This qualifies Manpreet Badal to be booked under the cheating clause also besides abetting suicide of farmers”.
Asserting that never had farmers been betrayed in such a manner by any government in the history of the State, the SAD leader asked Manpreet Badal to tell Punjabis why he was not delivering on his promises. “The level of your deceitful ways can be seen from the fact that you are planning new taxes but still not releasing any money from the treasury under your control to farmers or khet mazdoor to give them relief from severe economic stress. You could have easily released funds to farmers as done by Yogi Adityanath in UP and we would have praised you for that. But you have chosen the path of coward by deceiving the ‘anndaata’ and forced him to commit suicide. Earlier also you wanted to stop free power facility to farmers as finance minister in the SAD- BJP government but you were stopped in your tracks by S Parkash Singh Badal”. Mr Majtihia said Manpreet Badal would however not be allowed to succeed in his nefarious designs. “We will not keep quiet. We will go village to village and home to home and expose Manpreet Badal and the fraud played by him on Punjab Kisani. We will force the Congress government to deliver on the promises made to farmers", he added.