'Badal must call an all-party meet on Chandigarh'
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa on Thursday urged chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to immediately call an all-party meeting of political outfits in the state to reach a consensus on the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab.
"I am glad that Badal and his party have finally woken up to the long-pending demand of the people that Chandigarh be transferred to Punjab. The demand is part of the Rajiv Gandhi-Longowal pact which the two leaders had signed in 1985. Once the consensus is reached during the all-party meet, Badal can lead a delegation of political outfits to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue," Bajwa said, while addressing a press conference here.
Bajwa said that by announcing the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab, Modi would give a New Year gift to the people of the state.
Bajwa also rejected the increase of Rs 50 per quintal in the MSP of wheat announced by the BJP government at the Centre.
"The congress party demands that Badal should also impress upon Modi to implement the long-pending Swaminathan report for the benefit of farmers. The report clearly says that the MSP of the crop should be decided on the basis of the agricultural inputs of the farmers and they must get at least 50% profit over and above," said Bajwa, while demanding that the BJP government should at least announce an increase of Rs 200 per quintal on the MSP of wheat.
Bajwa also called upon Badal to impress upon Modi to immediately withdraw the service tax of 12.36% that the Centre had recently levied on the foreign money brought into India by the NRIs.
"Kerala and Punjab are the biggest beneficiaries of the foreign money which the NRIs bring into their respective states from the country of their adoption. The new service tax would only encourage hawala transactions in the state," said Bajwa.
To fight for unity
Bajwa said that after the visit of AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi to Punjab about a fortnight ago, majority of the Congressmen in the party had fallen in line and even stopped making statements which harmed the party discipline.
Bajwa, who was accompanied by Congress MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring and former Beas MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa, without naming anyone, said no matter how hard his opponents might try, he would continue to fight for the unity of the party and keep galvanising the workers, especially at the grassroots level.
He also condemned the mischievous campaign initiated against him, of having so-called links with anti-social elements, through Faridkot senior superintendent of police SS Kahlon.
The PPCC chief challenged the Faridkot SSP to prove this grave allegation against him. "What was the need for him to bring anti-social people during interaction of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. It was shocking that the SSP was unaware of even the basic drill during the visit of a SPG protectee," said Bajwa.