Congress govt is instigating farmers to commit suicide in Punjab: Sukhbir Singh Badal | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Congress govt is instigating farmers to commit suicide in Punjab: Sukhbir Singh Badal

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday dubbed debt waiver announced by the Congress government a crude joke. In an interview to HT, he said the budget has given his party new ammunition against the government.

punjab Updated: Jun 20, 2017 22:23 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal interacting with media at Punjab Vidhan Sabha after budget session in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal interacting with media at Punjab Vidhan Sabha after budget session in Chandigarh on Tuesday.(Sanjeev Sharma/HT Photo)

He is now the Badal in opposition. Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday dubbed debt waiver announced by the Congress government a crude joke. In an interview to HT, he said the budget has given his party new ammunition against the government.

Q: Why is the SAD disrupting the House on farm debt waiver. The Congress government has announced some relief?

Sukhbir: What is the amount they have waived and what is the message? A relief of Rs 2 lakh for minimum 10 lakh farmers totals to Rs 25,000 crore. They have announced just Rs 1,500 crore — a little over Rs 14,000 per farmer. Is it not a crude joke? They have hiked relief for suicide-hit families to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 3 lakh. So the message is if you commit suicide, we will pay you Rs 5 lakh. But if you live, we pay you a meagre relief of Rs 14,000. And from which date is the loan waiver being effected? They do not have even Rs 1,500 crore that they have budgeted for debt waiver.

Q: But isn’t your party to blame for leaving empty coffers and a legacy of huge debt?

Our white paper has nailed the lies of the government’s white paper. We has an answer to everything. We will also expose them on the budget during the debate. It has provided us enough ammunition. Right from Uber and Ola cabs to smartphones, it is just hogwash. If Manpreet said he can get smartphones for free, why did they wait for the budget? Will he give youths three lakh Ola cabs?

Q: But why are you raking up just debt waiver and not sand mining auctions?

We have held agitations on sand mining issue. There were many issues on which the government was fumbling. But we can focus on one thing at a time. We had decided to raise debt waiver and could not back out later.

Q: Is it because CM had a list of your party leaders too?

No Akali minister or MLA’s name ever figured in sand mining unlike in their government. We were not bothered about Captain’s list. We went to our seats as he gave an assurance on fulfilling the promise of debt waiver. Sand mining issue will not die. Sand in Punjab will now be called ‘Rana Sand’.