The Shiromani Akali Dal on Thursday asked Rahul Gandhi "not to play politics" over misery of the farming community in Punjab and introspect his "failure" to mitigate the sufferings of a farmer, who committed suicide last week, barely a month after he had met the Congress vice president to apprise him of farmers' woes.
It was clear that Rahul Gandhi was playing to the gallery as far as the sensitive issue of farmer suicides was concerned, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) general secretary Maheshinder Singh Grewal alleged in a statement.
"The cavalier attitude of the Congress vice president can be seen from the fact that he stopped at Fatehgarh Sahib to visit the family of Surjit Singh while on his way to Kasuali (hill station in Himachal Pardesh) to celebrate his birthday tomorrow," he claimed.
"It is quite apparent that the tragic demise of the farmer has not moved Rahul to cancel his birthday bash," he further claimed.
Condemning such "hit-and-run tactics", Grewal said before conducting such "stage-managed" shows, Rahul should tell the people why he did not address the issues brought to his notice by Surjit Singh during his last visit to the state.
"The media has reported at length that Surjit had immense hope from you and that he kept watching the television for days hoping you would raise his issues and get them addressed.
However, Surjit never realised that you had come to Punjab with the sole purpose of a 'photo opportunity' and had no intention of taking up the issues of Punjab farmers seriously," he claimed.
While asking Rahul to "desist" from "playing a fraud" with the farming community, the SAD leader claimed suicides were not the creation of the SAD-BJP combine government but had stemmed from the "anti-farmer" policies of successive Congress governments during the last 60 years.
He alleged that farmers had been brought to this state of affairs due to the steep hike in inputs as well as low MSP fixed for foodgrain by successive Congress governments.
In a scathing attack, he said, "Rahul who shed crocodile tears in Punjab while on way to the salubrious climate of Kasauli should tell the people what step he took during the earlier ten year UPA rule to mitigate the sufferings of farmers," he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Rahul visited the family of Surjit, a debt-ridden farmer in his village in Fatehgarh Sahib, who committed suicide last week.