Former chief minister and deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh on Sunday blamed the Shiromani Akali Dal Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government for the sorry state of industries, agriculture and economy in Punjab, claiming that the Badals have made the state economically and socially bankrupt which may lead to a law and order problem.
During his first rally at Jaitu town of the district under the Mission Punjab in the election-bound state, the member of Parliament (MP) from Amritsar succeeded in pulling a large crowd. The rally was organised by Jaitu MLA Joginder Singh.
"Badal has done nothing to lift paddy which is going to be harvest-ready in a month. No prior arrangement to lift the harvest has been made so far. Farmers suffered during the wheat procurement season because of the delayed lifting and payments. Paddy turns black if it is not procured immediately after it is brought to the market," Amarinder said.
"The government had bought BT cotton seeds, standard and quality insecticides, but the farmers have been uprooting their cotton crop due to the whitefly attack. The government is responsible for this as it has not done anything. I demand a high-level probe against agriculture minister Tota Singh, who is responsible for buying spurious insecticides worth crores of rupees for the cotton crop," Amarinder said.
"There has been no development in the state. The roads are badly broken which were supposed to be built by the Punjab Mandi Board," he said. "Besides the farmers' sufferings, the government is also responsible for the migration of the industry from Punjab to other states. Ludhiana was the hub of the cycle industry but it has shifted to Jharkhand. The textile industry has shifted to Ahmadabad while iron industry in Gobindgarh has also gone. It has led to unemployment," Amarinder claimed.
He said the government has failed to pay old age and widow pensions, shagun scheme besides the timely payment of the salaries of government employees. Taking a dig at the alleged rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the state, Amarinder termed the party as an outfit with inexperienced leaders, with the exception of Succha Singh Chhotepur.
"It (AAP) has people who are emotional and unemployed and are fed up with the previous governments. They think they have no future. The Akalis have looted the state for the past 10 years and the people of Punjab cannot afford to experiment with an inexperienced government for the next five years. If they want to build their future, they should elect the government with experienced people," Singh said.
Amarinder promised to increase the old age pension from Rs 250 to Rs 2,000 and the shagun scheme amount from Rs 31,000 to Rs 50,000 when his party comes to power in 2017. He also promised to form policies and schemes to provide employment to uplift the state. He also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the treatment meted out to ex-servicemen demanding one rank one pension (OROP).
"Instead of talking to them, Modi chose to use lathis on them," he said.
Other speakers projected Amarinder as the next chief minister of the state and extended him their all support. Among others who addressed the rally were MLAs Joginder Singh Panjgraian, Kushanldeep Singh Dhillon, former Faridkot MLA Sukhjinder Randhawa, Ajaib Sigh Bhatti, Karan Kaur Brar MLA Muktsar, Darshan Singh Brar.