The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its ally BJP today met Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore and demanded a probe by central agencies into the role of state’s Irrigation and Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh in the alleged land scam, a report by PTI. They also asked the governor to direct Capt. Amarinder Singh-led Congress government to fulfill its poll promises of farmers’ loan waiver and ensure the protection of rights of the Dalit community.
A joint SAD-BJP delegation, led by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and BJP Punjab president Vijay Sampla, submitted a memorandum in this regard to the governor at Raj Bhavan. Alleging that following the sand scam, the rate of sand had increased by four times in the state, Badal said Rana Gurjit had acquired land mines through a cook and employees who had made bids for Rs 50 crore. Terming it as an “open and shut case of Benami transactions”, he said it should be probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax (IT) department.
Badal also termed as mere “eyewash” the formation of one man commission of a retired judge J S Narang by the government to inquire into the issue. “Rana Gurjit is often seen in Narang’s house. Narang’s son fights Rana’s cases as a lawyer. He cannot be expected to hold an impartial inquiry”, he alleged. The SAD president also urged the governor to direct the government to fulfill its promise of waiving farmer’s loans completely in the budget session itself.
Claiming that suicides by farmers have increased in the last three months and that 70 agriculturists having taken the extreme step, he said if the government failed to waive farmer loans immediately, Punjab may face law and order problem. SAD MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said that the chief minister had given a “clean chit” to Rana Gurjit even before the Commission had submitted its report by stating that he had gone through the documents and did not find anything wrong. He also stressed that the farm sector was in a crisis in Punjab with banks and commission agents not extending loans to farmers for the coming paddy crop.
BJP State president Vijay Sampla urged the governor to intervene and ask the Congress government to take firm action to stop repression of the Dalit community. He said the scheduled caste community was being systematically targeted across the state for supporting the Akali-BJP combine in the last elections. He alleged that Dalits were not getting justice despite approaching the police because it was acting like a wing of the Congress party. Former speaker Charanjit Atwal and former minister Bikram Majithia also spoke about atrocities on Dalits, with Majithia highlighting how a Dalit was beaten and stripped and his Congress tormentor posted a video of the same on social media.
Former BJP president Kamal Sharma alleged that cases of political vendetta were on the rise with frivolous cases being registered against Akali-BJP workers. They said that the new government had reneged on its promise to give jobs to each household besides unemployment allowance of Rs 2,500 per month to the youth. In the memorandum, they also said the government had failed to double social welfare benefits, besides initiating a manifold increase in old age pension.
After his meeting outside the Raj Bhawan, when Badal was asked about his comment on the Congress government decision to come out with a white paper on state finances, he said the SAD-BJP alliance would come out with a “super white paper” on the development done during the last ten years. He also alleged that finance minister Manpreet Badal was directly responsible for non-fulfilment of the loan waiver promise.
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Terming as “biggest culprit” the finance minister for non-implementation of farm loan waiver, Sukhbir said he had headed the election manifesto committee and claimed that he knew how to implement the loan waiver promise, but “now the same person is making excuses.”
“This is unacceptable,” he added.