The SAD today accused Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal of “backstabbing” the peasantry and said he should be booked for “abetting farmers’ suicide” through the “bogus farm loan waiver promise” made in the Congress’ poll manifesto.
The Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) general secretary Bikram Singh Majithia in a statement said Manpreet was not only the chairman of the Congress’ manifesto drafting panel but also claimed to have spent six months to finalise its contents. “It can be surmised that Manpreet Badal included the complete farm loan waiver clause in the manifesto after due thought,” Majithia said.
“Now he cannot escape the responsibility for the death of 120 farmers who committed suicide after realising that he had no intention to honour the promise,” he said.
Accusing Manpreet of being “solely responsible” for the present condition of the farmers and farm labourers in Punjab, Majithia said the state finance minister had promised complete waiver of loans from nationalised and cooperative banks as well as from Arhatiyas and knew that it amounted to Rs 90,000 crore.
“Manpreet knew about the state’s financial condition due to his earlier stint as the finance minister. This means, he deliberately led the farmers to commit suicide by befooling them through various tactics, including getting them to fill forms to give the impression that he would honour his promise,” the SAD leader said.
He alleged that after the Assembly election earlier this year, Manpreet Badal started “flip flop” on his promise. “He started saying that he would implement his promise but that there was no money to do so.
“The Congress kept buying time by instituting a committee and eventually came out with a fraudulent loan waiver which has also not been executed till now,” Majithia said. He alleged that from the promise of writing off Rs 90,000 crore in loans, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh promised to waive Rs 20,000 crore but Manpreet Badal came out with Rs 1,500 crore laon waiver in the state budget.
“But even this money is yet to be released to the farmers and no notification has been sent to the banks to stop charging interest from them. This qualifies Manpreet Badal to be booked under the cheating clause also abetting suicide of farmers,” Majithia said.