Punjab Update

Chandigarh, July 11: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday expressed disappointment at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s failure to address any of the major concerns of the farmers at his Malout rally, while lashing out at the Akalis for betraying Punjab by allowing the Haryana Chief Minister to be present on the occasion.

The distressed farmers who had gathered to hear Modi found no succour for their problems in his long speech, which was high on fluff and short of substance, said the Chief Minister, expressing shock at the fact that the Prime Minister failed to even mention farmer suicides and debts or the Swaminathan Report.

And to rub salt on the farmers’ wounds, the Badals, instead of using the opportunity to fight for Punjab’s rights on the water and SYL issue, actually shared the dais with Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar, who was actively working against the interest of our state, said Captain Amarinder Singh.

In a statement issued here, the Chief Minister said the rally turned out to be a sorry spectacle for the farmers, who had braved the sweltering heat in the hope of some concrete announcements from the Prime Minister. Instead, Modi’s speech turned out to be an insipid affair, focused on tom-tomming of his government’s four-year rule, which has been a complete failure on all counts.

The Chief Minister said it was unfortunate that Modi had let go of such a major opportunity to address the serious concerns of the farming community. If he really wanted to thank the farmers for contributing to the nation’s green revolution and for continuing to feed millions of Indians day after day, Modi should have come out with some concrete announcements on the critical issues of farm loan waiver and in toto implementation of the MS Swaminathan report, said Captain Amarinder Singh.

In any case, said the Chief Minister, in his zeal to criticise the Congress, Modi had conveniently forgotten that it was this party that was responsible for ushering in the Green Revolution and ensuring the country’s food security.  He should have had the decency to at least acknowledge that it was the Congress which had waived off the loans of the farmers while his government had completely failed to provide them with relief from their massive debts, said Captain Amarinder Singh.

The farmers are unable to make both ends meet and yet the Prime Minister did not find it necessary to even make a reference to their problems, the Chief Minister pointed out.

The Chief Minister also came down heavily on the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for betraying Punjab by letting Khattar participate in the rally. Considering Khattar’s stand on SYL and Punjab water, the Akalis should have not let him be a part of the event in the first place or should have used the opportunity to corner him over these important issues, which are vital for the interest of Punjab and its farmers, said Captain Amarinder Singh.

He lambasted SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal for not pursuing Punjab’s demand on Chandigarh with Modi, with whose BJP the Akalis had an alliance. His father, former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had passed several resolutions on the issue in the past but by failing to take up the matter with the Prime Minister, the Akalis had proved that those resolutions were political gimmickry aimed at garnering votes, said Captain Amarinder Singh.

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