Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday exuded confidence that the Centre will bail the state out of "financial stringency" in the near future.
Badal, who was here for annual Chhapaar mela, while reacting to Union finance minister Arun Jaitley's recent letter to Punjab government purportedly refusing any financial package to the state said "the Centre would bail out the state from financial stringency".
He also termed Jaitley as a true statesman and a seasoned politician of high stature, who never nursed any personal grudge against any individual or party.
Badal reiterated the SAD-BJP combine has a "pious and long mlasting alliance" where such petty considerations have even no place in the minds of national leaders like Jaitley, "who was vying for overall development and prosperity of the states to make our nation strong without any bias or prejudice".
About making the Jaitley's letter public as demanded by Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa, Badal said the letter has been reported in the media and now there was hardly any need to make it public.
Expressing "anguish and concern" over the attacks on Sikhs in Pakistan, the chief minister said he would take up the matter with the Union Government, seeking their intervention by asking the Pakistan government to ensure the security and safety of Sikhs living there.
Accusing Congress of its "partisan role" to "weaken" Sikh institutions, the Chief Minister said sacred institutions like SGPC were strong-hold of Sikh community and such deliberate attempts to destabilise them would never be tolerated by Sikhs.
"It was very unfortunate and highly deplorable on the part of Congress to meddle in the religious affairs of the Sikhs, which had ever remained inimical to the Sikh community," he said.
"Congress-ruled states like Haryana and Maharashtra have vindicated our stand that Congress was an anti-Sikh party as it was solely responsible for creating separate Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and diluting the membership of SGPC from four to one in the Takht Sri Hazur Sahib Management Board, Nanded Sahib besides even denying the lone membership to the Chief Khalsa Diwan," Badal said.
Earlier addressing the gathering at historic Chhapaar Mela, Badal appreciated the political acumen and leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had already won the hearts of billions of people across the world especially through his visits to Bhutan, Nepal and Japan to strengthen the bi-lateral ties with these countries.
He said SAD had special love and affection for Modi which was evident from the fact that the SAD was the first party which came forth to declare him as a future Prime Minister of the country about three months before the general elections.
"The period of three months in saddle (by Modi) was hardly any time to concentrate on all issues," Badal said, adding that Modi's special bond for Punjab and Punjabis would ensure rich dividends to the state in the coming days.
He accused the previous Congress-led UPA government of blatantly ignoring the state and said Punjab would be richly compensated for its enormous contribution in the national development especially in the field of agriculture.
Making frontal attack on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the chief minister said its sudden popularity has been completely vanished like a sand dune perished by the whirlwind.
He said people have duly realised its real existence due to which its candidates could not even save their security deposits in the recently concluded by-polls to Patiala and Talwandi Sabo Assembly segments.