Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal today accused Finance Minister Manpreet Badal of comparing families of farmers, who allegedly committed suicide, with beggars and said the SAD-BJP combine would move a privilege motion against him. Manpreet, however, in the House, denied having said this. The SAD president claimed that the FM had, in a press conference yesterday, allegedly referred to farmers as destitute, Sukhbir told reporters in the Vidhan Sabha press gallery here.
“Manpreet said as one gives alms to a beggar at traffic lights to make him go away, families of farmers who committed suicides are being treated in a similar fashion by giving them compensation. “He compared a poor debt-ridden farmer with a beggar. Is Punjab’s farmer, who not only feeds the state, but entire nation, a beggar. This shows his mental state,” he claimed.
Sukhbir said that the SAD has demanded an apology from Manpreet and Congress “not only before the House, but also from people of Punjab”. “Manpreet said in the House that he has not used any such word, but we have told the Speaker that we have video recording of the same which can be played even in the assembly with the Chair’s permission. But Speaker disallowed it. Therefore, tomorrow, we will come with all proof and move privilege motion against the Punjab FM,” he said.
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Terming this behaviour as “obnoxious and intolerable”, Sukhbir said Manpreet would not be allowed to get away with this. He claimed that Punjab had witnessed a spurt in farmer suicides in the last three months with nearly 90 farmers ending their lives. He said it would have been better if Manpreet Badal and his government stuck to its promise to effect a complete loan waiver of farmer loans taken from nationalised and cooperative banks and also Arhtiyas.
The SAD president said the SAD-BJP combine would also move a privilege motion against Local Bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for allegedly using “derogatory language” against SAD legislator Pawan Kumar Tinu. He said Sidhu had allegedly misbehaved with Tinu by singling him out on the basis of his caste.