Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, today took pot shots at his son and deputy chief minister, Sukhbir Singh, as well as his son’s brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia, at the concluding day of the two-day NRI Sammelan here.
While praising the work being done by Sukhbir on the one hand, the CM said every father wants that his son should do great work and offer better services than his father and Sukhbir is doing that. But, he added, he was “not talking about doing business or anything related to money but service to the state”. He went on to say that “in our times sewa (service)was of a different kind. Assi taan jailan waale haan (We are those who went to jails). Raaj vaale te Sukhbir te Majithiye hain (Sukhbir and Majithia are the ones who are ruling).”
He, however, reserved his sharpest satirical comments for SAD senior vice-president Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, who had been active in NRI affairs. “Dekho Ramoowalia vi baithe ne, enhaan ne taan saare swad laye; hun, Congress naal ral vi ral gaye unha to be gaffe le kay sade kol vi aa gaye, eh bade siane ne (See Ramoowalia is also sitting here. He has tasted everything, took favours from Congress and now had come to us).” It may be noted that Ramoowalia had merged his Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) with SAD before 2012 assembly elections.
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All those named by him were present at the concluding function. “We fought to guard democratic values, not to rule; and there is hardly any jail in the country which was not shown to me by the Congress party,” said Badal adding that Akali Dal had done a lot but got less appreciation.
Badal’s sarcastic comments seemed to be the outcome of what is happening in the party after the allegations against Majithia. It may be noted that yesterday at Anandpur Sahib, Badal had publicly said that he would not be “retiring anytime soon”.
Badal asked NRIs to bring their children to India and make them study upto Class 12 here. “We will provide world class schools here so that they can remain in touch with their roots. The time is not far when your children will refuse to come to Punjab so it is your duty to bring them to Punjab now,” he said.
It may be noted that at the 2013 NRI Sammelan, the CM had kicked up a row by asking if Majithia had been to jail. “He got everything on a platter. I have spent 17 years in jails. We gave them (Majithia) the platter, now they want to take control (of the chair),” he had said.
Sukhbir also spoke on the occasion and asked NRIs to invest more and more. He talked of big things, including Punjab becoming power surplus and the overall development of the state.