PM Modi’s Punjab visit starts today, farm relief on state’s mindhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/pm-modis-punjab-visit-starts-today-farm-relief-on-states-mind-5519278/

PM Modi’s Punjab visit starts today, farm relief on state’s mind

In a statement, the PPCC president said despite the poor track record of the BJP and the Prime Minister in keeping promises, people still expected Modi to announce something substantial for the state.

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While PM Modi will sound the poll bugle for Punjab for upcoming Lok Sabha election, the state government is expecting the PM to announce relief for the farmers.

AS PRIME Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit Jalandhar Wednesday to attend the National Science Congress and will address a rally in Gurdaspur Thursday, the Congress government in Punjab is hopeful that the PM may make an announcement for farmers in
the state.

While Modi will sound the poll bugle for Punjab for upcoming Lok Sabha election, the state government is expecting the PM to announce relief for the farmers. “We have not heard anything from the Prime Minister’s Office. But there are indications that something is happening. There may either be an announcement on Thursday or in the days to come,” said a senior functionary of the government.

The functionary added that the state government was also keeping its fingers crossed that the PM may give his word for a solution on Rs 31,000-crore food loan as the state had been taking up the issue with him for quite some time now. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Punjab’s Cooperatives Minister, alleged, “The Prime Minister misled the people of Dharamshala where he said Punjab government has not given a single penny to farmers as loan waiver. Hence, Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar and MP from Gurdaspur will raise the issue with entire data in the Lok Sabha Wednesday.

Jakhar said the PM should do something for the term loan of Rs 31,000 crore. “If the PM cannot do anything else, he should at least provide the state this relief.” Randhawa said he and Jakhar would also demand a Rail Coach Factory for Gurdaspur and the state government was willing to provide 1,000 acre of land for the project.

“We want him to make an announcement to revive Batala industry, woolen industry. We also have a wishlist of Rs 1,000 crore for Dera Baba Nanak during the 550th birth anniversary celebration of Guru Nanak Dev ji.” Later, in a statement, the PPCC president said despite the poor track record of the BJP and the Prime Minister in keeping promises, people still expected Modi to announce something substantial for the state.

Taking a dig at Modi over his failure to fulfill the promises made during the run-up for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Jakhar said, “people are still waiting for the ‘acche din’, return of the black money and Rs 15 lakh in their accounts”. He said that though he did not have any hopes from the PM, he had made these demands thinking that “electoral compulsions” and the wish to come back to power might force Modi to do something for Punjab and its people at this juncture.

While thanking the Prime Minister and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan for the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, Jakhar hoped that the Centre would have all the necessary infrastructure in place before the celebrations of the 550th Parkash Purab of Guru Nanak Dev in November this year.

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Targeting former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Jakhar asked if, before stepping on the stage for welcoming and praising Modi, SAD would question him over going back on his word on the issue of extending help to Sikh farmers of Gujarat, whose land holdings had been frozen by the Gujarat government. Modi had promised to help these farmers during his 2014 rally in Bathinda but the Gujarat government had filed a SLP in the Supreme Court against the “unanimous” stay granted by a triple bench of the High Court against evacuation of the Sikh farmers from their land, he pointed out.