Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Partap Singh Bajwa on Thursday termed the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) ahead of the assembly polls in Haryana an "attempt by the Badals to promote their business interest".
"Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has joined hands with the INLD only to protect his business interests and the alliance is not based on ideological considerations," Bajwa said, while addressing a political conference of his party on the occasion of 'Gurtta Gaddi Divas' of Guru Angad Devji here.
Referring to the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab and at the Centre, he pointed out that it was rather strange that the Akalis were opposing its alliance partner in Haryana.
"It's a business tie-up and everyone is aware of the common business interests between the Badals and the Chautalas," he added.
Bajwa claimed that Badals never ever cared for the Sikhs of Haryana, as for him the business interests of his family were more important.
He also referred to the SAD opposition to the formation of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC), which according to Bajwa had put to an end the influence that Badal and his party had over the Sikhs in Haryana.
He said the formation of the HSGMC had fulfilled the longstanding demand of the Sikhs in Haryana, who wanted to manage their own affairs. "The HSGMC can now emerge as a powerful group and can bargain with political parties for the betterment of the Sikh community in Haryana," he added.
"The Sikhs in Haryana can now use the HSGMC platform to put forth their demands. Now they do not need to look towards the Badals, who had once controlled their shrines and often exploited them," said the PPCC chief.
Agitation for farmers
In the meantime, Bajwa announced that the Congress would soon launch an agitation on various issues concerning the farmers, the immediate one being reduction in the moisture limit in paddy from 15% to 14%.
UPA was Punjab friendly
Claiming that the UPA was more "Punjab-friendly than the current NDA regime", Bajwa said former prime minister Manmohan Singh deserved the honour of 'Sardar-e-Azam' as he had done a lot for Punjab during his tenure.
In this context, he referred to numerous occasions when the former prime minister had sanctioned funds and given developmental projects to Punjab.
"PM Narendra Modi seems to be inaccessible to the Punjab chief minister these days, as it has been long since his picture of presenting a flower bouquet to Modi has not appeared in papers," the PPCC chief said in lighter vein.
While referring to Badal's statement that funds would not be a problem during the NDA regime as it was during the UPA, Bajwa pointed out that finance minister Arun Jaitley had already rejected the demand for a special package.
He also charged the Badal government with frittering away the allocation of `850 crore made by the UPA government to the state to deal with the problem of waterlogging and floods.
He said heavy rain had wreaked havoc in parts of the Malwa region and Badal must explain to the people that where the money had gone.
He demanded a white paper on the utilisation of funds released by the UPA. He slammed Badal for squandering public money through 'Sangat Darshans', while claiming that even Jaitley had raised serious objections to the "misuse" of the central funds over the years by the Badal government.
Others who addressed the conference included PPCC general secretaries Harminder Singh Gill, Fateh Jang Singh Bajwa, Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli Majithia and Jasbir Singh Dimpa.