Slamming the Congress-led UPA government for extending the industrial incentive package in Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday said it was a conspiracy hatched by the "Gandhi family" to hit back at Punjab.
The union government has extended different industrial concessions till March 2017 for setting up industry in the hill states, a move the ruling SAD-BJP government has dubbed as anti-Punjab which has potential to drastically affect especially the growth of small and medium-scale industry in the border state.
Upping the ante against the Congress with an eye on the Lok Sabha polls, the SAD-BJP leaders led by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and state BJP chief Kamal Sharma on Friday presented a memorandum to governor Shivraj Patil, urging him to advice the Centre to give similar industrial benefits to Punjab also.
"This is a conspiracy by the Gandhi family. The Gandhi family has hit back at Punjab by ignoring our state," SAD chief Sukhbir Badal told mediapersons outside the Raj Bhawan after meeting the governor.
He said Punjab leadership was not against any state. "Our case is that we should also get the same industrial concessions," he added while condemning what he said discriminatory, illegal and unconstitutional decision of the Centre to extend tax concessions to Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The action of the Congress-led central government, he said, to extend tax concessions to the neighbouring states and denying the same incentives to Punjab seemed to be a well-planned conspiracy to sabotage the plans of the state government to usher in an era of industrial development which had received a major fillip after the Progressive Punjab Investors summit held in December last.
The SAD chief reiterated that the SAD-BJP government was not against the grant of these tax concessions to any neighbouring state but the denial of these incentives to the border state was a clear cut case of "bias and step-motherly treatment."
The deputy CM further said the Punjab Congress leaders as well as the state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa were so scared of losing their posts that they never dared to convince the "Gandhi family to shed its anti-Punjab attitude".
Asks SAD leaders to propagate, implement welfare schemes
Before leading the party leaders to meet the governor, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal addressed them at the party headquarters here. He advised the party leaders to ensure proper implementation of the programmes and policies of the SAD-BJP government.
Referring to the B and C class committee areas, Sukhbir Badal said no official of the excise and taxation department would be allowed to check the business premises falling under these committees without the written orders of the excise commissioner. He also asked them to propagate the welfare schemes like health card, distribution of utensil scheme, etc., initiated in the state so that identified beneficiaries could take the maximum benefit.