Local MP and deputy leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, Amarinder Singh, has accused the BJP-led NDA government of completely failing to tackle the issue of Indians stranded in strife-torn Iraq.
Talking to reporters, Amarinder, who was on his first visit to the city on Wednesday after defeating the BJP's Arun Jaitley in the parliamentary polls, said: "The BJP-led government has proved to be a big disappointment on this issue. It wasn't even able to get any firm details about Indian workers stuck in Iraq. It doesn't have any strategy in place to accomplish the task and is just trying to mollify the workers' worried families through bland statements and assurances."
"Every country whose nationals are trapped in Iraq are evacuating them and working hard for ensure those who remain there are safe. However, as far as our government is concerned, it has miserably failed to do this. The external affairs ministry and the Indian embassy in Baghdad appear clueless about missing Indians and their families here have no choice but to put up with the torturous wait," the former Punjab chief minister said.
Underlining the need to bring back all Indian workers in Iraq, Amarinder said: "It's time the external affairs ministry becomes proactive and takes steps to get all Indian nationals evacuated."
Blaming Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for "not rising to the occasion", he said; "The least the state government could have done was to bear the travel expenses of those stranded in Iraq. Instead what Badal did was to offer to reimburse expenses incurred on telephone calls by their relatives in India. This is a cruel joke".
Amarinder also lashed out at the state government for treating drug addicts as criminals. "While the drive undertaken against drug addiction is welcome, the way the state government is going about it isn't right. While addicts are being jailed the drug traffickers and suppliers are going scot-free. The real culprits must be brought to book", he added.
Slams Nda For Rail Fare Hike
Criticising the recent rail fare hike announced by the BJP-led NDA government, Amarinder said, "I don't know to what lengths this government will go but at the very beginning of its tenure it has burdened people with such price increases. It came to power after promising to curb inflation. I feel the forthcoming budget will spell more trouble for people.,"
Addressing a series of public meetings in Attari, Ajnala and Amritsar, he added: "The NDA government's initial decisions only show a lack of sensitivity towards the public. The hike in train fares was not only steep but unprecedented and unacceptable and will severely hit the common man."