Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh Monday said he would oppose the celebrations of 50th anniversary celebrations of Punjabi Suba being planned by the government in October. Addressing a press conference after inducting senior Akali leader Jagjivanpal Singh into the party here today, Amarinder said Punjabi Suba was creation of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s greed for power.
“It is a shame. At one time after independence, Punjab’s borders extended from China to Pakistan and thanks to the people like Badal, it has been reduced to a few hundred km in length and breadth”, he said, while pointing out how Punjab lost important hydraulic and tourism resources to Himachal and the all-important industrial belt of Gurgaon and Faridabad to Haryana besides the land and rivers. He said even the SYL problem Punjab is faced with is the byproduct of the narrow and sectarian legacy of people like Badal who went on to sacrifice state’s interests. He ridiculed Kejriwal’s charges of his having an understanding with the Badals. “Kejriwal is now claiming that he will put the Badals behind bars, I have done it already in 2002”, he said, while reiterating his opposition to Kejriwal staking his claim for the Punjab Chief Ministership.
He said, “no matter how he interprets it, I will always oppose a non-Punjabi becoming Punjab’s Chief Minister”.
The former chief minister maintained that Kejriwal was trying to address the anti-Badal sentiment without spelling out how he will put the Badals behind bars. “I know how to do it as I have done and I will do it again”, he said, adding there is a proper legal system to bring the corrupt like Badals to the book. “But why is Kejriwal not applying the same yardstick in Delhi also?” he asked, while pointing out how he continues to defending his Principal Secretary facing corruption charges. On the feasibility of the debt waiver in a state like Punjab with a precarious financial condition, Amarinder said it is not very difficult for the governments to generate resources if there was a will to do something. Besides, he added, the central government has saved Rs 3 lakh crores during the past two years on the crude oil imports. “We will ask the centre to share some burden as Punjabi farmers have at one stage fed the whole nation and now it is the payback time for the country”, he said.
Asserting that the Congress, unlike the AAP, was serious about debt waiver, the PCC president said the Congress had moved a private member’s bill in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha seeking debt waiver for the farmers.
Replying to a question about his having described the AAP manifesto as a carbon copy of the Congress policies, the PCC president remarked, “rather it is case of political plagiarism”, since the AAP had copied everything that the Congress has committed and promised long before.
Defending his opposition to the CBI probe into the drug scandal, Capt Amarinder said his only concern was that it would have been delayed as the central agency usually takes about 8 to 10 years to complete the investigations. He said there were some central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax department, Narcotics Control Bureau and the Revenue Intelligence involved in the investigations.
Amarinder reiterated his demand that Kejriwal needs to be probed as how could he receive Ford Foundation donations for his NGO Parivartan while being in service.
The PCC president also said the allegations of sexual exploitation against the AAP leaders must be probed.