Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday implored political parties to desist from making ‘provocative statements’ in the wake of ‘impending crisis on Indo-Pak border’ following the recent surgical strikes by the Army in PoK.
Speaking during his visit to a border village here, Badal said, “It is unfortunate that political leaders were continuously politicking at this critical juncture when clouds of war are hovering over the country.”
The five-time Chief Minister said the SAD-BJP alliance government did not believe in doing politics over the issues concerning unity and integrity of the country.
He said his visits to border villages during the past few days were solely aimed at sharing the grief of border residents and instilling a sense of confidence amongst them.
“These visits are not even remotely concerned with politics. I am visiting the border villages to be amongst the brave people of this region who are ever ready to make any sacrifice for their country but unfortunately my fellow friends (from the opposition) do not see anything beyond politics,” he said.
Badal’s reaction came after state Congress chief Amarinder Singh had on Sunday said that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre was creating ‘unnecessary war hysteria’ and tension along Punjab borders with an eye on the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections.
The former Chief Minister had also taken a dig at Badal, saying, “Instead of meekly submitting to the Centre’s diktats, he should have taken a stand against evacuation (of people residing within 10 KM of the international border) which is totally uncalled for.”
Badal, however, defended the Centre’s directive of evacuating the border dwellers in Punjab.
He said it was wrong to compare Punjab with other border states as it was far more densely populated.
Notably, Punjab shares 553-KM border with Paksitan and six districts in the state lie close to the IB.
The residents in nearly 1,000 villages which fall within 10 KM radius of International Border were asked to evacuate the region following the Centre’s advisory in view of apprehension of retaliation from Pakistani side after the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC).
A number of villagers had refused to leave their homes on the grounds that they need to tend to their crops and cattle and also look after their properties.
Addressing the public gatherings in village Tendiwala, Hazara Singh Wala and Ghazniwala today, the Punjab Chief Minister exhorted the people to not get misled by the “malicious propaganda unleashed by opposition parties on the issue of evacuation.”
He said the safety and security of people was the prime concern of the state government, which made them follow the advice of the Union Government to evacuate the border area.
Recalling the “great service” rendered by border residents of the state to the country, the Chief Minister urged the Centre to start a special recruitment drive for
enabling the youth of such areas to join the forces.
He said that he would soon raise this issue with the Union government.
The Chief Minister added that in order to ensure prompt and hassle-free procurement and lifting of paddy from the border regions, the state government has decided to appoint special officers to facilitate the farmers of this region.