Punjab Congress on Monday hit out at the Aam Aadmi Party over absence of the issue of stubble burning, one of the main causes of unprecedented smog cover over the national capital, in its poll manifesto in the state, saying it exposes the party’s “vested” interests in promoting “petty politics”.
Clearly with an eye on the forthcoming Punjab assembly elections, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP has chosen to maintain a studious silence over the critical issue of stubble burning in the state, said Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) leaders Rana Gurjit Singh, Dr Dharamveer Agnihotri and Inderjit Singh Zira.
“While the Congress has been maintaining a clear stand on the issue of stubble burning, the AAP leadership’s ambiguity in the matter indicates a deliberate attempt by Kejriwal and his colleagues to mislead the farmers of Punjab,” said the PPCC leaders.
They said that the “notable” absence of the issue of stubble burning from the Aam Aadmi Party’s manifesto has exposed the party’s “vested” interests in promoting “petty politics”. They pointed out that PPCC president Captain Amarinder Singh had clearly stated, time and again, that the poor farmers of Punjab were being forced to resort to stubble burning due to lack of sufficient resources to go for alternate measures.
Punjab Congress will ensure that procurement is done in a timely manner and that the farmers get timely payments, at MSP, for their produce once the party is in power. The PPCC leaders said it was evident that Kejriwal, on the other hand, was least interested in securing the interests of the people either in Delhi, where his party is currently in power, or in Punjab, where he is eyeing the chief ministerial berth for himself.
Though the AAP manifesto claims to be comprehensive, addressing as many as 31 issues of concern to the farmers, the absence of the stubble burning issue expose Kejriwal’s intentions, according to the PPCC leaders, who demanded that AAP clarify its stand on the controversial issue, particularly in the context of the prevailing smog crisis in Delhi.
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The Congress leaders flayed the desperate attempts of AAP’s Kanwar Sandhu to justify the fact that the manifesto was quiet on stubble burning by claiming that just because it has not been referred to in the manifesto does not mean the issue has been swept under the carpet.
“What’s the point of coming out with a manifesto if you are going to leave vital issues unstated,” they asked Sandhu, lambasting him for trying to befool the people of Punjab.
Other AAP leaders have tried to wriggle out of the embarrassment caused by the non-mention of the stubble burning issue in the manifesto by saying “maybe it will be there in the environment manifesto.”
“Is AAP saying that they don’t even know for sure if they are going to include this vital subject in their manifesto at all,” the PPCC leaders said.