Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said Punjab or Punjabis would not accept any verdict against the state’s interest on river waters and are ready to make any sacrifice to safeguard their legitimate share on it. Addressing a gathering on the occasion of 50th year of Punjabi Suba celebrations, he said the successive Congress governments at the Centre have subjected the state and its people to “sheer exploitation by denying the rightful share” of river waters. He said the inter-state issues including denial of a capital to Punjab, transfer of Punjabi speaking areas and resolving river water issues within the ambit internationally accepted Riperian Principle were hanging on fire for long due to “apathetic” attitude of the Congress governments at the Centre.
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The Chief Minister, however, said with the installation of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, the Punjabis have at least seen a light at the end of the tunnel and are eagerly awaiting resolution of these issues on priority basis. While seeking personal attention of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP National President Amit Shah, Badal said people were now questioning for not getting the territorial issues resolved by the central government, in which Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is also an ally. He urged both the leaders to deliver prompt justice without any further delay.
Badal accused the Congress leadership of betraying Punjab, saying they are well known for betrayal with Punjab since the times of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, who had promised to create Punjabi Suba on the linguistic lines but they “backtracked”. Paying homage to those who made sacrifices for formation of Punjabi suba, Badal said every Punjabi was indebted to these sons of soil who made this distant dream a reality.
On record, nearly 59,000 people were imprisoned and 43 attained martyrdom during the struggle, he added. Terming partition as one of the “darkest chapters” of the India’s history, he said Punjab, being a border and most prosperous state of the country, faced maximum brunt and wounds were still afresh in the memories of people who had witnessed it. Badal elaborated the contribution of Punjabis in making the country self sufficient in foodgrains.
Recalling the acts of Punjabi soldiers like Naik Karam Singh, Major Somnath Sharma, Air Commodore Baba Mehar Singh and others, he said the successive central governments, led by Congress, had “not recognised the immense contribution” of Punjabis and “inflicted a severe blow” to state’s economy by meting out step motherly treatment”. Attacking Congress, Badal said Punjabis would never forgive Congress for its “sins” against the state.
He alleged the Congress governments at the centre had “deliberately” denied the state of Punjabi speaking areas, its capital Chandigarh and even its legitimate share in river waters. “How can any true Punjabi forget and forgive Operation Blue Star and the killing of innocents in 1984 anti-Sikh carnage?” he said. Badal reminded people about the “unprecedented” development in Punjab under the SAD-BJP regime. He said the SAD-BJP alliance was “everlasting” as it was based on principles and not meant for power sharing.
The Chief Minister further said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Punjab has been immensely benefited in a short span of BJP-led NDA government’s rule at the Centre, as the state got several key projects which are instrumental in putting Punjab on high growth trajectory. Badal hailed the NDA government for granting All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and Post Graduate Horticulture Research and Educational Institute among others projects to the state. In his address, SAD President and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said Punjabis were peeved as the perpetrators of anti-Sikh carnage, that took place on this day, were roaming free.
He also accused the Congress governments of having “discriminatory attitude” towards Punjab, saying after independence several states were carved out on linguistic basis but Punjab was an exception due to discriminatory attitude of the then Congress government. Sukhbir said though after struggle by SAD, the present Punjab came into existence but still it was deprived of its capital, share in river waters and Punjabi speaking areas. He added that the struggle for getting these issues addressed would continue.
He said Punjab faced acute power crisis during previous Congress regime, led by Amarinder Singh, but now it was power surplus due to the concerted efforts of SAD-BJP alliance government and was supplying cheapest power to its consumer. The Deputy Chief Minister said the government has ensured smooth and hassle-free procurement of foodgrains through network of grain markets and free power to farmers. Reminding people about the “barbaric” attack on Harmandir Sahib, he said Congress was “inimical” to interest of state and it had devastated the most revered holy place of Sikhs, the SAD-BJP alliance has ensured complete face-lift of such holy places.
He also said the state government would soon set up network of 2,500 shops which would provide free medicines. Sukhbir alleged that Congress government had failed to give job to a single person “but the alliance government has provided jobs to lakhs of people”. Claiming that the CM had dedicated his entire life for sake of people and the state, he said some divisive forces were trying to incite communal tension to pursue their vested political interests. The Deputy CM said the UPA government had not given a single penny to the state.
Addressing the gathering, Union Minister and state BJP Chief Vijay Sampla said Punjab and its people had immensely served the country by making it self-reliant in foodgrains production and ensuring its defence from foreign invaders. Though the state has passed through turbulent times but the Punjabis have always upheld the ethos of communal harmony and brotherhood, he said, adding some forces were hell bent upon disturbing the peace and prosperity of the state.