While endorsing foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail sector, People's Party of Punjab (PPP) chief Manpreet Singh Badal on Monday did not rule out an alliance with the Congress before the 2014 parliamentary elections.
"FDI will definitely change the plight of farmers, who are underpaid for their produce in the current system of procurement," Manpreet said "Shiromani Akali Dal is opposing FDI without applying its mind and only to support its alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party."
"Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal should clarify whether he wants the interest of farmers at stake, merely to toe the ideology of BJP for remaining in the National Democratic Alliance," said Manpreet.
On the possibility of forging a political alliance with Congress, the former finance minister did not deny its possibility, but added that it was too early to comment as the general elections were 21 months away.
"We will ensure the defeat of SAD and BJP candidates in Punjab," Manpreet said. In a lighter vein he added, "Seedhi unglee se ghee nahi niklega to unglee tedhi bhi karenge, par Punjab ko bachayenge. (We will do everything possible to save Punjab)."
"I welcome the suggestion of state Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh for an all-party meeting to finalise the strategy to oppose the ruling SAD-BJP combine," said the PPP chief.
Commenting on the poor fiscal situation of the state, Manpreet said: "The state government has already borrowed Rs 6,000 crore out of the total limit of Rs 9,000 crore per annum. Delaying the outstanding liability of Rs 2,000 crore will not provide any relief to the state."
"Parkash Badal should learn a lesson from his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar about s good governance; Kumar has rescued the state from its worst financial position and now it is witnessing a growth rate of 15%," Manpreet said. "Imposing heavy taxes on people is not the solution to the state's financial woes; a political salutation should be worked out with the Centre."
Denying that he was thinking of forming a political party with social activist Anna Hazare, Manpreet said a non-political outfit could not take the fight against corruption to its logical conclusion.