Chandigarh, Jan 21 – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today said chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had lost the moral right to continue in his chair after refusing to extend the debt waiver given to crop loanees to all farmers as committed by him publically before the elections and even afterwards as chief minister in the Vidhan Sahha.
In a statement here, the SAD president said the chief minister had made a solemn promise as Pradesh Congress chief to the Punjab peasantry that he would waive off their entire debt. “You promised to waive off all debt totalling around Rs 90,000 crore including that taken from cooperative and nationalised banks as well as private money lenders. You reiterated this promise in the Vidhan Sabha. However yesterday you have gone back on your commitment by stating that you will not extend the crop loan scheme to cover all indebted farmers”.
Terming this statement as a death knell for the farming community which was hoping all genuine beneficiaries would be taken in the ambit of loan waiver, Mr Badal said the exact opposite had happened. “The government has released Rs 167 crore to cover 47,000 farmers which does not cover even one per cent of the total debt. The government is claiming it will release a little more money to cover the crop loan waiver and then close this chapter without even touching the genuine beneficiaries. The chief minister must explain why he lied to farmers and deceived them by promising them a complete loan waiver if he did not have any intention of keeping his promise”.
The SAD president also asked Capt Amarinder Singh not to offer excuses for not waiving off farm debt. “The Congress election manifesto which promised this was prepared after a six month study done by present finance minister Manpreet Badal. He should be sacked immediately for failing to plan and execute the debt waiver scheme”. The SAD president also derided the CM for stating that the government was concentrating on waiving off loans of small and marginal farmers. “Everyone knows this is a lie. Even the banks have stated that small and marginal farmers have not benefitted from the crop loan waiver scheme”.
Mr Badal also asked the chief minister not to play with fire by stating that farmers protesting on this issue were indulging in false propaganda. “The farmers are only holding you accountable to your promises as well as signed affidavits given by to them assuring a complete loan waiver. By insulting them in this manner you are leaving them with no option to either take to the streets to protest against this injustice or end their lives like 400 of their kin have done in despair”.
Stating that Punjab farmers would not let the Congress get away with this betrayal, the SAD president said the party would come up with an agitation programme to force the Congress government to implement a complete loan waiver. “We will also agitate to ensure the debt of farm labourers and the Dalit community is also waived off immediately. It is shocking that the CM has even reneged on his promise to waive farm labourer debt”, he added.