April 2, 2021 12:46:59 am
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal Thursday accused Capt Amarinder Singh of being “afraid” of standing up to the Centre over the issue of direct payment to farmers for wheat procurement — the attack coming on day the Punjab chief minister assured his government’s full support for the restoration of the older system of payment through the commission agents.
Badal, after recovering from Covid-19, was addressing a ‘Punjab Mange Jawab’ rally in Amritsar’s Ajnala. The Akali Dal had cancelled the rallies after Badal had tested positive for Covid-19 on March 16.
At the Ajnala rally, Sukhbir was again seen without mask even as the basic Covid protocol was flouted at the gathering with no social distancing and most attendees without face mask at a time when Punjab is witnessing a second wave of infections and the government has put in several curbs.
However, Amritsar Deputy Commissioner, Gurpreet Singh Khaira said, “Unlike weddings, funerals and other social functions, there is no ban or cap on political and religious gatherings”.
It being an election year, the Punjab government has not put a ban on political and religious gathering. However, the ruling Congress had earlier announced to put on hold all its political rallies till March 31.
A government official, tasked with to implementing Covid-19 protocol, requesting not to be named, said, “Now, how do we challan a common man for violating Covid-19 political when there is no restrictions on political gatherings? There is no logic in it. How can government adopt selective approach in implementing the Covid-19 instructions”.
Meanwhile, launching an attack on Amarinder, Sukhbir said the CM is “afraid” of standing up to the BJP-led Centre and that was why he has not taken any concrete step to stop the implementation of the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for the procurement of wheat crop
Talking to the media after addressing a gathering here, he alleged that the CM is “playing a fixed match” with the Centre, which was clear from the fact that Amarinder Singh asked for time to implement the scheme instead of declining to implement it.
“It is clear that the chief minister has become part of the central conspiracy to punish the farmers of Punjab for opposing the three agricultural laws”, he alleged.
Earlier addressing the gathering, the SAD chief took on AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for allegedly playing a “double game” on the agricultural laws. He said Kejriwal had enacted a “big drama” of opposing the farm laws during the party’s recent meeting in Baghapurana even though his government was the “first to implement the laws in Delhi”.
He also took on Punjab CM and asked him to name one hospital, college or road he had constructed during the last four years. The SAD established 13 universities, 30 colleges and 300 hundred skill centres during its tenure, he claimed.
He said rather than do anything, the chief minister had “defaulted” on a holy oath he took in the name of the “Gutka Sahib”, promising to waive loans of farmers. “Similarly, the CM has also backstabbed the youth whom he had promised jobs besides an unemployment allowance of Rs 2,500 per month,” said Sukhbir.
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