Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said here on Thursday that the Akali-BJP government’s emphasis in 2016 would continue to be on peace, communal harmony and development.
“Punjab today is the most peaceful and fastest developing state in the country, and we are committed to preserving peace and maintaining a high tempo of development in the years to come also,” the chief minister said in his message on New Year’s Eve.
“Despite a vicious propaganda by our opponents, every Punjabi is proud of his state. Admittedly, there are challenges, as in the farming sector for instance, but the government is taking every challenge head-on and will defeat them,” he said.
“In 2015, peace and communal harmony were put under severe strain by some rejected and cynical elements who were desperate to gain political relevance by creating an atmosphere of suspicion, uncertainty and bitterness. They tried to revive their ‘divide and rule’ card and did not spare even Guru Granth Sahib from their political opportunism and adventurism. But the Akali-BJP government responded with vigour and commitment and successfully mobilised Punjabis to defeat those forces and save Punjab from being pushed back into the dark era of the 1980s and 1990s,” Badal said.
‘Most painful moments of my life’
Badal also described the incidents of sacrilege as the “most painful moments of my life” and said he was pained to see politics being played even on this extremely sensitive issue.
He said the government firmly dealt with those responsible for this heinous outrage against humanity and ensured that every guilty person was made to face the law.
On the state’s financial health, the CM regretted that some political elements and parties were acting with utter irresponsibility and working day and night to defame Punjab as a rotten and bankrupt state, besides tarnishing the image of the Punjabis by declaring most of them as drug addicts. “But even a routine drive through Punjab can convince every unbiased and unprejudiced observer that the state is developing by leaps and bounds and it is no longer looked as part of the Third World,” Badal added.
He termed the killing of a Dalit man in Abohar as “one of the stray but most unfortunate incidents”, saying that the government acted promptly and without prejudice and none of the accused was being spared. In nine years of the Akali-BJP regime, he said, there were about four or five such incidents. “We believe that even these incidents should never have happened. But these did not reflect the overall atmosphere in Punjab, which remained peaceful,” he said.
CM extends New Year greetings
Chandigarh: Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday greeted Punjabis across the globe on the eve of 2016, conveying the hope that the coming year would bring joy, peace and prosperity for all. Badal said the time had come for the state to usher in an era of overall progress and growth, besides cementing the bonds of communal harmony, peace, amity and brotherhood.