Chhapar (Ludhiana): Amid ongoing protests by farmers over “meagre” compensation for the cotton crop loss in Malwa, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal announced Rs 600-crore relief for the farming community here on Monday.
Addressing the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) rally at the Chhapar Mela in this village, about 40 km from Ludhiana, the chief minister said he had already told officers concerned to disburse the amount to bail out farmers plagued by the whitefly attack.
Blaming successive Congress governments at the Centre for breaking the peasantry’s back, Badal stated that in the past eight years, the Punjab government had provided free power to farmers worth Rs 28,000 crore.
The CM said Punjab had benefited immensely from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule at the Centre, while admitting that one year was too short a period to evaluate any government’s performance.
The rally was attended by several Akali leaders, including cabinet minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon; CM’s adviser Maheshinder Singh Grewal; MLAs Manpreet Singh Ayali, Darshan Singh Shivalik, SR Kler, Ranjit Singh Dhillon and Iqbal Singh Jhunda; former minister Hira Singh Gabria; and Punjab State Subordinate Services Selection Board chairman Santa Singh Umedpuri.
Interacting with mediapersons later, the CM said the SAD-BJP alliance was everlasting and firm. He added, “We are very clear that the SAD will never part ways with the BJP.”
Replying to another query, Badal said Punjab did not have a single drop of surplus water for any state.
Speaking on the pardon granted to the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, Badal said the Akal Takht was the supreme body of the Sikhs, adding that the SAD didn’t interfere with its decisions.
The backstage posters at the Akali rally had only three faces CM Parkash Singh Badal, deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia
Dakha MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali, chief organiser of the SAD rally, ensured that posters carrying his photos and those of his associates were put up across the mela venue
Referring to the commotion created by protesters, Badal quipped: “Baith jao, eh Congressiyan nu aadat hai raula paun di (Please sit down; Congressmen have a habit of creating disturbance).”
When an associate of Ayali urged the CM to make the MLA a cabinet minister, Badal replied, “Asin taan MP banaun layi ticket de ditti si par tussi hi kaamyaab nahi hoye (We had given him the ticket for the Lok Sabha polls, but you failed him).”