Punjab’s political parties spar over ‘wheat scam’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ludhiana/political-parties-spar-over-wheat-scam-2764903/

Punjab’s political parties spar over ‘wheat scam’

In a statement on Thursday, CM Parkash Badal asked the Congress and the AAP to “stop praying for death and destruction only so that they could get an opportunity to exploit it.”

Parkash Singh Badal
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Express photo by Gurmeet Singh

Punjab’s political parties traded barbs on Thursday, a day after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cleared the first installment towards procurement of 90 lakh tonnes of wheat to the state.

In a statement on Thursday, CM Parkash Badal asked the Congress and the AAP to “stop praying for death and destruction only so that they could get an opportunity to exploit it.”

“Please stop playing politics of death in Punjab. I beg this of you,” added Badal.

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He asked the Congress and AAP leaders to stop ‘mourning’ the release of the cash credit limit (CCL) on Wednesday for payment to farmers for their wheat procured by government agencies.

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“The Congress and AAP were celebrating the farmers’ woes over confusion about release of money for payment for the wheat procured. These parties are so desperate for power in Punjab that just in order to show the government in poor light, they went to the extent of organizing Havans to pray for non-clearance of money for farmers. They cruelly mocked the anxiety of farmers and the farmers’ families,” said Badal, adding that these days, he went through ‘indescribable pain and anxiety’ over the delay in clearance of money meant for farmers.

Badal said every farmer in the state was “upset and angry over the Cong-AAP playing politics even on an issue of life and death for the peasantry”.

Meanwhile, Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh criticised the Punjab chief minister for celebrating the release of the money, which was otherwise a routine affair.

He also told the Chief Minister that instead of feeling “anguished” over the genuine and justified criticism by the Opposition, he should be concerned over the daily farmer suicides because of debt.

“Better shed your tears for those thousands of farmers who lost their lives in distress and despair, thanks to your callous negligence and indifference than wail and whine over our criticism for your failures”, he told Badal, while taking a jibe at his “feeling of anguish”.

“Release of CCL in no way means a clean chit to you and you still stand guilty of cheating and robbing the farmers of the state of Rs 12000 crore for which you will be held answerable sooner than later”, Capt Amarinder warned.

Former CLP leader Sunil Jakhar while visiting the mandis in Bathinda mandis said, “We have to speak loud to make the deaf hear. And we will continue doing so as we are deeply concerned about the deplorable condition of farming in Punjab.”

‘SAD to sue Jakhar’

Lok Sabha MP Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra on Thursday said that the SAD would file defamation Suit against Congress leader Sunil Jakhar for bringing bad name to state by “penning story of imaginative scam on account of misappropriation of food grains.”

This comes a day after Sunil Jakhar filed a complained with the vigilance department against Badal.

Prof. Chandumajra said the Reserve Bank of India has vindicated the stand of ruling SAD-BJP alliance that there was no misappropriation as reported in the media.

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He slammed other political parties for indulging in “cheap politics over this sensitive issue.”