Updated: September 1, 2021 9:07:12 pm
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President, Sukhbir Singh Badal, on Wednesday, said his party’s 100-day Gal Punjab Di poll outreach programme will continue at full steam and will not be affected by “sponsored protests of the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)”.
Sukhbir’s statement came on Wednesday after he once again faced protests by various farmer unions as he held rallies in Sahnewal constituency in Ludhiana district.
Addressing a massive rally — during the course of which he also announced the candidature of senior SAD leader, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, from Sahnewal constituency — Sukhbir claimed that the Congress and the AAP parties had become jittery after the success of hiss Gal Punjab Di campaign.
“That is precisely why, despite clear-cut direction from the Sumyukta Kisan Morcha that farmers should protest only against BJP leaders, the SAD’s programme has seen farmers backed by the AAP and the Congress turning up to protest. The Congress government is also deliberately not taking action against these mischievous elements and they are being given a free run by the police. We are observing restraint. I, however, want to make it clear that the Congress government will be directly responsible in case there is any untoward incident due to its refusal to rein in these elements,” Sukhbir threatened during the rally.
Interestingly, in most constituencies where the SAD president has faced protests so far, the farmers have claimed allegiance to BKU-Sidhupur, BKU-Rajewal, BKU-Kadian, or the Kirti Kisan Union. Apart from staging protests and gheraoing Sukhbir, the farmers have often cornered the SAD supremo for answers on the three contentious farm laws that have seen thousands of farmers camping at Delhi’s borders for months now. BKU-Dakaunda in particular has pressed the SAD president to answer some tough questions during his visit to the Guru Har Sahai, Malaut areas.
The SAD president, who arrived at the rally spot in Sahnewal’s Mattewara on Wednesday, leading a motorcycle rally — which saw participation from thousands of youths — also claimed that his party was the only credible force in Punjab’s politics. “We have always fulfilled our commitments and will fulfil each and every announcement that is being made by the party as part of its 13 point programme. We do not believe in taking oaths or filling forms as was done by the Congress during the 2017 election and is being done by AAP now,” Sukhbir said. He also targeted the AAP for getting forms filled by people if they wanted to opt for 300 units of free power every month, saying if this facility is to be given to everyone then what is the purpose of getting forms filled for the same.
Stating that the SAD alone had catered to the needs of the farming community, Sukhbir said that his father, Parkash Singh Badal, had not only waived tax on tractors but also provided free power to farmers, besides establishing the mandi and irrigation systems. “Even the MSP system was implemented in Punjab due to the efforts of the SAD,” he said while asking the Congress to highlight one thing it had done for farmers. He said a majority of tubewell connections had been provided to farmers during the SAD’s tenure, and if the party is voted to power again then it will provide tubewell connections to all farmers who did not have this facility.
Asking people to beware of the AAP, Badal junior said that the Delhi model being propagated by the party would make power expensive in Punjab with domestic consumers getting power at Rs 10 per unit and industries paying Rs 12 per unit. ‘Even farmers in Delhi have to pay Rs 500 per horsepower for their tubewell motors,” he added.
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