Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday accused SAD (Shiromani Akali Dal) leaders of "demeaning" his government's Rs 9,500 crore farm loan waiver scheme and indulging in "political gimmickry".
The SAD had been hitting out at the Congress government in the state, alleging that the party had reneged on the promises made before the Assembly polls held earlier in 2017.
The chief minister accused SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal of "playing with the sentiments of the people with fraudulent and baseless charges" against the current dispensation.
Amarinder Singh also questioned his predecessor over "failure" to take any initiatives for the farmers and other sections of the society during his 10-year tenure, and now criticising the steps being taken by the Congress government for the welfare of the people.
Asserting that his government had announced the loan waiver scheme in Punjab Assembly in June 2017, the chief minister said that Badal failed to even turn up for the session.
"In fact, the Akalis did not have the patience to listen to the government on the issue," he said in a statement, adding, it was evident that the SAD did not have a positive programme and were merely indulging in "political gimmickry" for their political interests.
The chief minister warned the SAD against pursuing a "negative" agenda, saying the people of Punjab were not willing to give them a long rope now and would not tolerate such ploys as they only wanted to live and progress in peace.
"The Akalis were concerned only about promoting their own political and personal interests, as they had been doing all these years, at the cost of the development and progress of Punjab and its people," he said.
On the SAD core committee's rejection of the government's notification on farmers' debt, the chief minister challenged Parkash Singh Badal and party president Sukhbir Singh Badal to prove even a single of their allegations on loan waiver issue.
Having "failed" to take any step for the welfare of the farmers during their decade-long rule, the Badals now have the "audacity to demean" the initiatives being taken by the Congress government despite the "financial crisis inherited" by his government from the SAD-BJP dispensation, he alleged.
The SAD leaders used their time in power to "loot the people and fill up their own pockets, leaving the state exchequer reeling under an unprecedented burden", Amarinder Singh alleged.
The chief minister also accused the SAD of "misguiding" people by "mutilating" truth regarding closure of certain government schools in the state.
He said the fact was that the government has merely decided to merge 800 government schools with less than 20 students with adjoining schools situated within a kilometre of its radius.
The education system in the state too has been "destroyed" by the SAD-BJP dispensation. Schools, colleges, technical institutions, everything was in a "total mess", the chief minister alleged, adding that his government was trying to bring the state's education system back on track.
The decision to merge certain schools would lead to better utilisation of teaching staff, he said and ruled out any possibility of the move affecting the students.
The Badals had "destroyed" every system in the state, from education to health, industry and agriculture, for which they had been "duly punished" by the people, who rejected them in the Assembly polls, the chief minister said.
It was clear that SAD was now desperate to woo the people of Punjab and was resorting to all kinds of "deceitful acts" for this. The people were not going to allow themselves to be "fooled" by the Badals, he claimed.
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Updated Date: Oct 22, 2017 20:59:18 IST