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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

LS polls in mind, Badal tries to woo Balmikis

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, April 28, 2013
First Published: 20:43 IST(28/4/2013) | Last Updated: 20:45 IST(28/4/2013)

With an eye on next year's Lok Sabha elections, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday especially flew to the city to attend a function organised by Aadi Dharam Samaj to mark the 122th birth anniversary of Dalit leader Dr BR Ambedkar.

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Amidst praises showered on him by Balmiki leaders, Badal rose to address the gathering, but failed to announce any new welfare scheme for the community. All he did was indulge in Congress-bashing.

From price rise to external threats, Badal blamed the Congress for all the ills plaguing the country. Slamming the UPA government for "misleading the poor and downtrodden sections of the society for vested political interests", Badal said the Congress had only treated the Dalits as vote banks.

The CM said the union government had failed to check the smuggling of drugs from across the border, which was ruining the youth of the country and creating a major law and order problem.

He said union ministers had amassed huge wealth by plundering taxpayers' money through multi-crore scams. "The money siphoned off in Commonwealth Games, 2G, Adarsh Housing Society and other scams could have ensured the welfare of people of Punjab for many years to come," said Badal.

He alleged that in order to evade action, Congress leaders had stashed their black money illegally in foreign banks, and this was the reason why the union government was reluctant to bring this money back.

Reiterating that the Congress was meting out stepmotherly treatment to Punjab, the chief minister said the imposition of wealth tax on farmers was a conspiracy of the UPA government to crush the peasantry of Punjab. "Even the faulty criteria of devolution of central taxes have always deprived the state of its legitimate right to get more funds for development under central grants," he said.

Badal said the life and philosophy of Dr Ambedkar was a lighthouse for the coming generations. "Fighting against all odds, Baba Saheb not only brought a revolution by championing the cause of weaker sections of society, but also did commendable work for the emancipation and empowerment of women. Following in his footsteps, the SAD-BJP government has taken path-breaking initiatives to ensure the welfare of weaker sections," he said.

MLA Pargat Singh, former Punjab Safai Karamchari Welfare Board chairman Raj Kumar Atikay and district planning board chairman Gurcharan Singh Channi were also present.

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