Rubbishing the charge of political vendetta against his government, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has also dismissed the Congress leaders' going to the union home minister, P Chidambaram, over the issue as "a stunt".
The state Congress leadership had made an unnecessary hue and cry over the issue, Badal told the media on Saturday on the sides of a sangat darshan programme here. "Its meeting with the union home minister in Chandigarh on Friday was a gimmick," he said. "The state Congress leadership claims 20,000 of its workers were targeted, but to me it brought only 39 cases, none of which had anything to do with vendetta."
He charged the Congress leaders with trying to mislead people. Replying to a query about the Congress opposition to the construction of an Operation Blue Star memorial, the CM said "divide and rule" had been its strategy for decades to attain power in the state.
On the threat of the resurgence of terror in Punjab, he said the state government would protect communal harmony and peace, even if the Congress tried to disturb the congenial atmosphere by politicising sensitive issues and scaring people. Jubilant over the victory of the Shriomani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance candidate in the Dasuya by-election, the CM said it was "a spectacular triumph of transparent, pro-people, and effective governance over divisive politics of the Congress".
Lashing out at the Centre, Badal said it had not paid back the state for its enormous contribution in making the country surplus in food production. "Instead, it deprived Punjab of its legitimate share in river waters," he said. "Excessive centralisation of policies has ruined the federal structure of the constitution."
Poor to get more for building house
Earlier, addressing a gathering, the CM said the government had increased its assistance to the poor for building any house. The money goes up from Rs 35,000 to Rs 45,000 for new construction, and from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 for repair.
At Raniwala village, Badal inaugurated a pilot project of distributing pension through the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) scheme. The beneficiaries will receive the money direct in their bank accounts. At Panniwala Fatta village, he planted a sapling to open the Greening Punjab Campaign in Muktsar district.
Sher Singh Ghubaya, member of parliament from Ferozepur; and senior civil and police officials accompanied the CM.