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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Bajwa to lead Punjab farmers to meet UPA chief

Ravinder Vasudeva , Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, September 28, 2013
First Published: 23:56 IST(28/9/2013) | Last Updated: 23:58 IST(28/9/2013)

Punjab Congress chief Partap Bajwa on Sunday will lead a delegation of farmers from Punjab that is likely to meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders to take up various demands of the state peasantry.

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Though the Bajwa camp has desisted from divulging the exact purpose of the visit, sources said the programme had been planned minutely.

According to DCC (urban) Ludhiana chief Pawan Dewan, as desired by Bajwa's office, it has been made compulsory to send two buses of farmers from each assembly segment to Delhi on Saturday evening. "From Ludhiana district, a total of 28 buses are leaving for Delhi following the state chief's orders," said Dewan.

Bajwa, who is camping in Delhi, when contacted by Hindustan Times, said the delegation would urge the Centre to give special package to the flood-hit farmers of Malwa and other parts of the state, to increase the minimum support price (MSP) of crops and take corrective measures in the Gujarat farmers' case.

He said the purpose of the visit was to ensure that real demands of the farmers were directly heard by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

From 117 assembly segments in Punjab, as per PPCC chief's plans, 234 buses would reach Delhi. The buses are set to leave for Delhi from each segment but there is confusion in the Congress rank and file in the state, and the rival party camps are questioning the "real purpose" of the visit.

"We have been told that two buses should leave for Delhi from each constituency. But the PPCC office has not clarified us what is going to happen there. We don't know if any rally will be conducted there or a simple delegation will meet the UPA chief," stated an MLA from the Capt Amarinder Singh camp.

Sources said some important announcement for the farming sector of Punjab was likely to be made and Bajwa was trying to take credit for this ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

A party MLA from Ludhiana said the state Congress would demand paying the flood relief directly to the farmers. "Till now, whatever efforts the UPA has made for the farmers, the Badals have taken credit for it. Since the general elections are around the corner, we cannot afford to allow the state government to take credit for the central schemes," said the MLA.

A Congress MLA from Patiala said that even the exact venue of the gathering had not been disclosed and the event managers had told them that the venue would be informed in the morning. "Buses have been asked to reach Majnu Ka Tilla," he stated.

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