Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday lambasted the Akalis over their demand for a Rs 90,000 crore farm loan waiver, saying they were the ones responsible for pushing the farmers into debt. A joint SAD-BJP delegation on Friday urged Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore to direct the Congress government to implement a Rs 90,000 crore farm loan waiver. Singh said the SAD-BJP leaders’ demand was “senseless and obnoxious” and they were doing it for their “petty” political interests and not for the farmers’ benefit.
“They are trying to project themselves as messiahs of the farmers to promote their petty political interests, after pushing them into vicious debt traps with their lopsided policies,” Singh said. He said the Akalis had done “nothing” for the farmers during their decade-long rule and were now trying to find some issue to play to the gallery and revive their political fortunes.
“If they were so concerned about the plight of farmers why did they not do anything for the upliftment of the farming community all these years,” he asked. “In fact, the pitiable condition of the farmers is the result of the anti-people policies of the erstwhile Akali government,” said Amarinder.
The chief minister said the Badals should rather appreciate the Congress government’s effort in bringing the state’s economy “back on track to some extent” and for initiating the loan waiver process. “The government has succeeded in raising enough funds to start the process of loan waiver for small and marginal farmers indebted to cooperative institutions which is a remarkable achievement considering the prevailing situation,” he said.
“Their demand shows not only a shocking lack of understanding of the ground situation in the state but also reflects their desperation to get back into the public limelight after being virtually thrown into political oblivion over the past 11 months,” said Amarinder.
On the SAD-BJP’s demand that all sacrilege cases of the previous SAD-BJP government as well as the present Congress tenure be inquired by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, Singh said they were trying to “save their skin” in view of their imminent expose for their “evident complicity” in such cases. “But, these acts will not help the Akalis evade justice for their misdeeds and misdemeanors of their decade-long rule,” he said.
The chief minister urged the Akalis to work as a constructive opposition and help the government in ensuring the development of the state.