Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Sunil Jakhar on Sunday claimed that in its attempt to upstage its alliance partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was “sacrificing and ignoring interests of Punjab”.
Calling this as a “dangerous game plan” at a press conference here, Jakhar said the plan was set in motion after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government assumed power at the Centre. “After winning elections at the Centre and in some of the states, the saffron party has set its eyes on Punjab,” he added.
“This plan did have its genesis in the defeat of senior leader Arun Jaitley in Amritsar for which the Akalis were blamed. And after winning polls in some the states, the BJP started thinking in terms of dumping the Akalis and ruling Punjab on its own,” he claimed, while pointing out that due to humiliating defeat of the BJP at the hands of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi, the plan was put on the backburner for sometime.
In support of his claims, the Congress leader said on numerous issues concerning the state, the Punjab BJP leadership kept quiet. “No state leader has uttered a word about the NDA government’s Land Acquisition Bill despite being fully aware that Punjab is an agrarian state,” he added.
“Then, on the issue of compensation to the farmers whose crops have been destroyed or damaged due to the recent spell of hail and rain, not a single BJP leader has said anything. They have expressed no sympathy with the farming community what to talk of seeking compensation from the central government,” he added.
Pointing to Punjab BJP chief Kamal Sharma’s remark that he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, the CLP leader sought to know the PM’s reaction. “The people of Punjab, particularly the farmers, have a right to know what the PM thinks about their problem,” he added.
Turning to the drugs issue, Jakhar said soon after assuming power, Modi had spoken about the urgent need to tackle the drug menace. He had spoken about the problem in his radio programme ‘Maan ki Baat’, he said.
“Nothing has happened thereafter. On the contrary, a dedicated officer of the enforcement directorate, Niranjan Singh, who was handling the Patiala synthetic drug racket and had quizzed some of the senior Akali leaders, was transferred from Jalandhar to Kolkata,” he pointed out, while questioning the Modi government’s sincerity in tackling the issue.
The Congress leader also referred to the ‘Ghar Wapsi’ campaign of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which was also launched in parts of Punjab. The plan did not have the sanction of the Badal government, he added.
“Clearly the BJP is ignoring issues concerning Punjab and its people when it should have been at the forefront of taking up the state’s problems with Delhi. This is an attempt on the part of the BJP to lower the image of the SAD, which is the dominant partner in the nda alliance in Punjab,” he claimed.