Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday slammed the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for deliberately denying OBC (other backward class) status to Jat Sikhs of the state.
Interacting with mediapersons during his visit to his adviser Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal's house on the bhog ceremony of the latter's parents, Badal said the Centre had recently included Jats of the northern region in the OBC list, whereas Jat Sikhs of Punjab had been denied this status.
"This reflects the step-motherly treatment meted out to the state by Congress governments at the Centre. This is another instance of the discrimination with Punjab as on a previous occasion, the state was denied legitimate share in river waters," Badal said.
On a query regarding the ongoing fast by Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, the CM said though the state government had hardly any role to play in the matter (release of prisoners), it was keen to resolve the issue. He said the state government had already taken up the matter with the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
Earlier, paying floral tributes to late Avtar Singh Grewal and Bibi Sukhdev Kaur Grewal, the chief minister said they had selflessly served the Panth and society during their lifetime. He said there was hardly any family which gave preference to serving the people. Badal also lauded the services rendered to the Shiromani Akali Dal and the state by Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal and his family.
CM visits old friend
The chief minister visited his old friend, Bhagwan Singh, owner of Gurmail Medical Hall, on the college road before paying tributes to Mahesh Inder Grewal's parents.
Bhagwan Singh was in the news recently due to the cancellation of drugs licences of National Drug House and BG Pharma, owned by his close relatives, in November. Both firms, in addition to three other drug stores, were found guilty of keeping excessive psychotropic drugs in the absence of sale/purchase record. The Ludhiana police commissionerate had registered a case against BG Pharma under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Highly-placed sources in the police said it was because of the CM's ties with Bhagwan Singh that the owner of BG Pharma had not yet been arrested.