File photo: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh. Photograph:( Facebook )
Amarinder also pointed out that his government had so far disbursed Rs. 3595.04 crore to 428246 farmers against their debts.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said that Badals, who lead Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), were running around like "scared rabbits with no hole to hide", fearing defeat in the Lok Sabha polls next year.
"Faced by imminent defeat in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Badals were running around like scared rabbits, with no hole to hide," said the Punjab Chief Minister on Friday, adding that if they continued with their desperate efforts to cheat people, they would be thrown into political oblivion forever by the electorate.
Amarinder's remark came a day after SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the recent loan waivers announced by Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh were "farce".
The Punjab Chief Minister, in response, also urged the Akali leader to give up such theatrics if he wanted his party to remain a serious contender in the political arena.
Lashing out at the SAD president for his continued efforts to exploit the sentiments of farmers, to whom, he claimed, the former regime failed to deliver even an iota of benefits, Amarinder said the former deputy chief minister was trying to mislead the farming community in a desperate bid to wean it away from the Congress.
He pointed out that Congress president Rahul Gandhi had already promised waiver of loans for the beleaguered farmers across the country if the party was elected to power in the forthcoming elections. "It was evident that the SAD-BJP combine was scared out of their wits by the Congress leadership's promise and their track record of delivering on their poll promises in all the states in which the party had been elected to power," he claimed.
The Punjab Chief Minister ridiculed Sukhbir's blatant attempts to divert public attention from the erstwhile Akali-BJP regime's failure on all counts. "For 10 years, the Badals did not take cognisance of the plight of the farmers and were now shedding crocodile tears for them, he added. Having gone through extreme pain and suffering under the SAD-BJP government for a decade, neither the farmers nor any other section of Punjab's populace was now willing to be deceived by the SAD leadership," he said.
Countering Badal's baseless allegation with facts and figures, Amarinder pointed out that his government had delivered on its promise of loan waiver despite the severe financial constraints and fiscal mess it had inherited from the Badal regime. "Not just the farmers of Punjab but those of the entire nation had appreciated his government's initiative, which had been replicated now by the newly installed Congress regime in three other states," he added.
The Chief Minister pointed out that his government had so far disbursed Rs. 3595.04 crore to 428246 farmers against their debts, with the process for loan waiver to 159632 small farmers also initiated. Of this, Rs. 1815.78 crore had been disbursed to 317965 marginal farmers against loans taken from cooperative banks and Rs. 1779.26 crore to 110281 marginal farmers towards loans from commercial banks.
"These are hard facts that no amount of fabrications by Sukhbir or anyone else can negate," said Amarinder, challenging the SAD president to cite even one example of any benefit provided by their government to the farmers.
"Sukhbir's brazen attempts to lie his way out of the current mess in which his party and leadership are caught at present were nothing more than a sign of frustration and desperation. With SAD completely marginalised in Punjab, and their ally, the BJP, also clearly losing political ground, the Akali chief was looking for a way out of the political alienation which the coalition was facing ahead of the Lok Sabha elections," Amarinder claimed.