Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh on Sunday lashed out at chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s for not waiving off farmers’ loans and asserted that his party will relieve the farmers if it comes to power.
“Just because you are too incompetent to provide any relief to the farmers does not mean no one else can do,” he said while reacting to Badal’s reported statement that he (Amarinder) was misleading farmers by promising them loan waiver.
Amarinder alleged that with the state pushed into a debt trap of over Rs 1.25 lakh crores, nobody expected Badal to waive off loans.
“A government which cannot pay salaries and pensions cannot not be expected to waive off loans as it needs financial skills which Badal has already exhausted by amassing personal wealth,” he claimed, while promising that with better financial management the state can afford complete loan waiver for farmers as he has been done in the past.
He claimed that during his previous term between 2002 and 2007, he had settled all the loans of farmers taken from the cooperative banks.
He claimed his government had started negotiations with the PSU banks, which could not be completed as the Akalis took over in 2007.
“Rather you owe an explanation to the farmers as to why you did not carry forward our policy and settle the issue with the PSU banks,” Amarinder said.
Earlier also on August 26, Amarinder had said if the party is voted to power, he will ensure that the farmers loans are waived off and their land is not taken away.
It was surprising that someone who has become chief minister for the fifth time was saying that governments cannot waive off farmers’ loans, he said.
“You need the will and the resources and unfortunately you possess none,” he accused Badal.
Amarinder reminded Badal that the NDA government at the centre wrote off bad debts to the tune of Rs 114 lakh crores of the corporate houses.
“If you can waive off such a humongous amount, why can’t you waive off farmers’ loans which amount to less than Rs one lakh crores,” he asked, adding, “if industries can be provided the stimulus, so can the agriculture sector and farmers and we will do that.”
The PCC president also clarified AAP MP Bhagwant Mann’s reported statement about Punjab Congress being controlled from Delhi like his party. He said Congress being the national party has a national set up headed by party president Sonia Gandhi.
“But she does not interfere, leave aside control, the state affairs and it is the PCC president who is in overall control of the state affairs,” he said.
Amarinder asked Mann not to justify the “dictatorial and autocratic control” exercised by Arvind Kejriwal on AAP Punjab leaders by referring to Congress party.