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Badal should get long pending demands accepted from centre: Bajwa

Chandigarh: The Punjab Congress President, Mr. Partap Singh Bajwa, today called upon the Chief Minister, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal, to get the long pending demands of the state accepted on which the Akali Dal had launched agitations that had turned bloody taking the lives of thousands of innocent people over the years. “In case Mr. Badal has forgotten the same, I would like to remind him about the transfer of Chandigarh and left out Punjabi speaking areas, adjudication of the river water dispute on riparian principles and of course the state autonomy on the basis of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. This resolution adopted in 1973 at the birth place of the Khalsa was the solemn commitment of the Akali Dal to the people of Punjab”, he added. He said all these years, Mr. Badal had been blaming what he used to describe as the “step-motherly treatment by the Congress government towards Punjab” for all the ills afflicting the state, despite the six year rule of the NDA government earlier in which the Akali Dal was the part, like now. This despite the fact that the Dr.Manmohan Singh government had never rejected any demand raised by Punjab. “Now it is your own government which is supposed to act like real mother and respond to all the concerns of Punjab and the Akali Dal which Mr. Badal and his party has been voicing. Now he has no alibi. Now you have to prove that the Narendra Modi government has the magic wand to positively respond to all the long pending issues and demands”, he said. He said the issue of debt was taken up by the then state finance minister, Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal, with the Congress government for which he was accused of being in league with the UPA government and virtually forced to exit from the government and the party. It was ironic that now Mr. Badal was himself pursuing that very case. He said this was not the only immediate issue. Punjab had been discriminated against by the Atal Behari Vajpayee government while announcing industrial concessions for the neighbouring hill states which hit this border state the hardest. Mr. Badal must get this relief at the earliest as it did not involve money. This would also indicate the earnestness of both Mr. Badal and the Modi government towards the people of Punjab. He said while Mr. Badal was talking of the riparian principles for the resolution of river water dispute, the linking of rivers was on the agenda of the NDA government. He reminded the Modi government that originally, it was the idea mooted by the cabinet minister Mr. K. L. Rao in the Congress government. He said the rivers in Punjab were already inter-linked and so was the Bhakra canal system with Western Yamuna Canal in Haryana. Mr. Badal had failed to take any of the issues concerning Punjab with the Vajpayee government but now his own daughter-in-law, Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur, was a cabinet minister in the Modi government and it would now be the real test of the Badals regarding their commitment to the people. In case Mr. Badal failed again, he would become a symbol of opportunistic politics with which he was associated.  
High time for Punjab BJP to shed Akali liability
The Punjab Congress President, Mr. Partap Singh Bajwa, today said it was high time for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state to shed its liability baggage that its alliance partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal, had turned into and come out of the government to chart its independent course. In a statement issued here today, Mr. Bajwa said despite the humiliations faced by the Akali Dal-BJP alliance in the state during the elections, it was interesting that the senior alliance partner continued to bulldoze the BJP of which the district presidents of the saffron party had taken serious notice. He said it was ironic that the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, continued to lord over the departments held by the BJP ministers, especially the Local Bodies and Industries and Mining. He recalled that the Deputy Chief Minister had blamed the BJP for property tax and illegal sand mining in the state after the elections saying these departments were with the alliance partner while in fact, it was his writ that prevailed. Property tax and skyrocketing prices of sand had emerged as the two major issues on which the people expressed their anger. He said it was good that realisation had now dawned upon the middle level BJP leaders who had conveyed their sentiments to the state party chief, Mr. Kamal Sharma, suggesting that the BJP ministers must come out of the government rather than share the blame for the wrong doings of the Akali leaders. He said the senior party leader and now the Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley, had the first hand bitter experience of the damage the style of functioning of Akali leaders in general and Mr. Sujkhbir Singh Badal and the Revenue Minister, Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia in partricular, had caused to the political fibre in the state as he himself met with humiliating defeat mainly because of them despite the Narendra Modi wave. Mr. Bajwa said the Chief Minister, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal, had obliquely admitted the fact of Mr. Majithia having become a burden on the party and the government by divesting him of the NRI department. He said the Punjabi NRIs had totally backed the Aam Aadmi Party which bagged four seats in this state. But for the AAP, the Akali Dal-BJP alliance would have been totally wiped out. The people had given vent to their anger against the loot by the Akali leaders and the law of jungle prevailing in the state. “That Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal did not invite the BJP ministers to the meeting while taking decisions regarding their departments as recently as on June 9 is an indication of the fact that he would not rectify himself and continue to dictate their departments. The Badals are concerned mainly with their own support base in the rural areas and under the given situation, the options of the BJP are closed”, he added. He pointed out that it was not without significance that the Chief Minister had gone to Delhi to call upon the BJP ministers at the centre alone with his wish list while earlier, his son and the Deputy Chief Minister used to accompany him. On several occasions, they would be accompanied by Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, wife of Mr. Sukhbir Singh Bada, now a Union Minister. He said the political discourse in Punjab had entered a different phase in which the Badals could not blame the centre for resorting to discriminatory policies. Now would be the real test of the Badal government, he added.
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