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Rajoana still has more lifelines

punjab Updated: Aug 05, 2013 00:07 IST
Vishal Rambani

There was no question of even talking about hanging Balwant Singh Rajoana, as his mercy petition was still with the President, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said here on Sunday.

"For the peace of Punjab, please, don't rake up this issue. Nothing is going to happen as long as the clemency petition filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on behalf of Rajoana is pending. We are against death penalty," said Badal, denying any plan to shift Rajoana from Patiala to some other jail, as the convict had claimed during court hearing.

"Besides, the petition of the other convicts is also pending in the Supreme Court," the CM said. On being reminded that Rajoana himself had sought the execution of his death sentence, Badal said: "Rajoana if free to comment as he likes but my government will take decision with a view to maintaining Punjab's hard-earned peace."

On March 28, 2012, the union home ministry had stayed Rajoana's execution after clemency appeal by the SGPC. Badal was here to administer the oath of office to newly elected members of panchayats.

State to assist Gujarat Sikhs in legal battle

On the issue of the eviction of Punjabi farmers from Gujarat, the CM said apart from political efforts, the government would also support the farmers in legal battle. "Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal will lead a delegation to the Gujarat CM, and the state government will hire best lawyers to fight the case in the Supreme Court," said Badal.

The CM added that he had taken up matter with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh.

'Lesson' for Mamata

Taking a dig at his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal compared the violent panchayat elections in her state with the "peaceful process" in Punjab. "I don't want to comment on how West Bengal did it but we were able to conduct the elections smoothly," he said.

'UPA has ruined Punjab industry'

Ludhiana: For the industrial slowdown in Punjab, the country's ruling alliance was responsible, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said here on Sunday.

The United Progressive Alliance policy of tax break to neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir had forced industry to migrate from Punjab, he said. The union government hasn't come forward to help stop this exodus, he added. Batting for the revision of formula for the devolution of taxes to the states, the Punjab CM said that for balanced growth, more funds should be at the states' disposal.

Replying to a query about sand mining, Badal said the matter was with either the Punjab and Haryana high court or the Centre. "It's unfair that we have to seek permission from the Centre for even constructing a small road," he said.

Reacting to the "Gaddafi" remark of state Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa, Badal said: "May God give long life and better health to Bajwa, so that he can see the end of the Congress in Punjab."