Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar Tuesday lashed out at the Centre for its decision to impose the GST on agricultural tools and products, adding that the step had “broken the backbone” of farmers in the state.
Addressing a series of meetings of party workers here, he flayed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for imposing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on wheat flour, terming the step as “anti-poor”.
The Modi government has aggravated the farmers’ woes with its “anti-farmer and “anti-poor” policies, he said while accusing the central government of being only interested in “promoting” the interests of the corporates.
Jakhar, the Congress candidate for Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll, also attacked the previous Badal regime for “destroying” the lives of farmers in the state. For almost a decade, the Akalis failed to approach the central government for a waiver of farm loans, Jakhar alleged, terming the failure of the previous government to ensure due price of the farmer’s produce as “unfortunate”.
Hailing the Amarinder Singh-led state government for working for the interests of the farmers, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief said the state was working to make agriculture remunerative and bring the farmers out of the agrarian crisis.
Referring to the Sutlej-Yamuna link issue, Jakhar recalled it was Amarinder Singh who brought the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act, 2004 — which abrogated all its river water agreements with neighbouring states — but was scrapped by the Supreme Court last year.
The PPCC president also took a dig at the Centre for “derailing” the country’s economy through demonetisation.
“No one gained from demonetisation…Around 200 lives were lost because of this ill-conceived decision and reports suggest that the impact of demonetisation will continue for three more years,” the 63-year-old said, adding the Narendra Modi-Arun Jaitley duo was answerable to the public.
He demanded to know the central government’s stand on the issue of black money and fake currency after the Reserve Bank of India stated that 99 per cent of the scrapped currency came back to the system.
Continuing his tirade against the Centre for failing to fulfill its promise of providing 2 crore jobs every year, he said “an average of just 1.5 lakh jobs per year” has been provided in the past 3 years, at a time 10 lakh youths are entering the workforce every month.
Jakhar called upon the people to vote the Congress to power in Gurdaspur and “discard” BJP’s Sarwan Salaria. The Gurdaspur Lok Sabha by-election is scheduled to be held on October 11.