March 5, 2021 11:13:32 am
Terming it akin to a “seditious act deliberately committed to annihilate Punjab’s future generations”, state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar on Thursday said the previous SAD-BJP regime “agreed to mammoth Rs 31,000 crore food account repayment while Centre itself had agreed to cap the settlement at Rs 13,000 crore only”.
Referring to a copy of what Jakhar called an “explosive Government of India report on the issue”, the senior Congress leader castigated then finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa challenging him to “come clean and explain to the people of Punjab about political compulsions, which led him to mortgage state’s interests in this callous manner”.
“The report”, Jakhar in a written statement said, “clearly mentions Centre’s assertion that Punjab will accept the responsibility for Rs 13,000 crore only, pinning down all lies peddled by Akalis on this critical issue.”
Hitting out at the BJP, Jakhar said, “Its national leadership should make all documents public to let truth come out to confirm if senior leadership arm-twisted it to put this additional burden on Punjab as they knew people have voted them out.”
“This is your moment of redemption”, Jakhar asked Dhindsa advising him to “redeem himself by exposing what led to the acceptance of Rs 31,000 crore repayment instead of Rs 13,000 crore, and also that did BJP force Akalis hand on the grave issue, overriding the Finance Ministry’s recommendations to harm Punjab?”
“BJP’s historical role in destroying Punjab has been well documented,” Jakhar said.
“Did your conscience not poke you once ever,” Jakhar asked Dhindsa, daring him to “wash his sins by exposing the nefarious designs of SAD to unnecessarily burden Punjab and its citizens with this massive debt for no fault of theirs”.
Announcing that he would be writing to the PM Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to “ascertain all facts on the issue in the public domain”, Jakhar added that “Youth Congress will on March 8 give this document to all major leaders of BJP and of SAD to elicit answers and accountability from them on behalf of all Punjabis. Our MLAs will give copies to their legislators during the session that day.”
Dhindsa was not available for comments.
Shiromani Akali Dal, however, reacted and asked Jakhar “not to indulge in cheap shoot and scoot politics”, saying he was “in the habit of making wild allegations and then running away from substantiating them”.
In a written statement, SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said, “The Congress party desperately tries to politicize this issue in Punjab even as it officially admits that the amount accumulated due to disparity in calculation of transport and labour charges for procurement done on behalf of the Centre”.
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