Facing the heat of fund crunch, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday blamed successive Congress governments at the Centre for the poor financial health of the state.
Badal said the step-motherly treatment by the Congress coupled with its regressive policies had broken the financial backbone of Punjab.
Interacting with mediapersons after addressing a political conference on the occasion of ‘Gurta Gaddi Diwas’ of Guru Angad Devji here, Badal said: “Congress has always adopted an anti-Punjab stance due to which the development of the state has suffered a lot. Punjab’s economy has been adversely affected due to the Partition and prolonged militancy; however, the fatal blow was dealt by the Congress when it granted incentives to our neighbouring states that led to exodus of industry from the state to hill states. We are trying our best to put the state back on the track of development,” added Badal.
Terming the formation of the Modi government at the Centre as a “silver lining” for Punjab, Badal said the days of discrimination with Punjab were over and now an era of unprecedented development would be heralded.
He expressed hope that the Modi government would allot some key projects to Punjab soon.
Addressing the gathering earlier, the chief minister slammed the Congress for irrelevantly meddling in religious affairs of the Sikhs.
“The moves of Congress governments in Haryana and Maharashtra to constitute separate gurdawara management committees and reducing the representation of the SGPC in the Hazoor Sahib board has given a severe blow to the Sikh psyche,” he added.
‘Jaitley’s letter misinterpreted’
After being cornered on the issue of letter by finance minister Arun Jaitley, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said, “The letters written by union finance Arun Jaitley were misinterpreted, whereas in reality the union minister had just referred the issue of debt waiver of the state and revision of formula for army recruitment to the concerned quarters.”
“We have not been denied funds by the NDA government, it backs us on every front, Badal added. He said it was due to the efforts of Jaitley that Amritsar got several key projects.
Taking at jibe at former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh for “being absent from his constituency”, Badal said though Jaitley was doing so much for the holy city despite his defeat, the MP elected by the people was never seen there.
‘Chautalas are family’
Defending the SAD move to support the INLD against the wishes of BJP, the chief minister said, “We have close family ties with the Chautalas that is why we are supporting INLD in the Haryana polls.
We have informed this to senior BJP leadership and they don’t have any problem.”
“Our support to INLD will not have any bearing on the SAD-BJP ties as both are committed to rout the Congress out of power in Haryana,” he added.
When asked to comment on dismal performance of the BJP in recently concluded byelections, the chief minister said it was wrong to see it as a referendum against the Modi government. He said these elections were fought on local issues and hardly had any connection with the Modi wave.