CHIEF MINISTER Captain Amarinder Singh and former CM Parkash Singh Badal were locked in a war of words over the issue of farm loan waiver with both of them spewing venom at each other.
“The Badal father-son duo seems to be suffering from selective hearing and amnesia,” said Amarinder on Friday, reacting to the Badals’ allegation that he had “backtracked on his farm loan waiver promise”.
Badal had said in a statement on Thursday that by linking its promise on loan waiver to farmers with the demand for a central package, “the Congress government in Punjab was finding escape routes to run away from their promise on loan waiver”.
Amarinder hit back on Friday stating that “unlike the Badal regime, which had failed to take up any measure for the welfare of the farmers in the state during 10 years of their rule, his government had initiated a time-bound process of waiver of their loans in less than 10 days of taking over the state’s reins”.
Referring to his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, Amarinder pointed out this was not the first time he had met Modi to demand waiver of farm loans, which the Congress was committed to securing for farmers not just in Punjab but around the country. He pointed out that he had been part of the delegation led by AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi that met the Prime Minister before the Assembly election to seek relief for distressed farmers in the country.
Hitting back in a statement on Friday, Badal said there was no reason for Amarinder to react so “peevishly” to the SAD-BJP asking him not to link the Congress poll promise of loan waiver with a central fiscal package for Punjab. “Where was the need to get so worked up? I have said categorically that I and my party and alliance partners support him in his demand for a package. All I said was that the promise of waiving farmers’ loan, jobs to 30 lakh households, doubling pensions and more than tripling the shagun scheme amount, etc. should not be made dependent on Punjab getting this package. The two should be delinked and the state government should immediately take a Cabinet decision on loan waiver, filling of vacancies and other promises made by the Congress in its manifesto. They have all the information and detailed data they need on the problems and there is no reason to set up committees to study the problems now.”