Amarinder flays Badal over loan waiver for farmers



Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday trashed as "political theatrics" Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal's comment on the loan waiver announced by the Congress in Punjab and other states.

Lashing out at Badal for his "continued efforts to exploit the sentiments of the farmers, to whom the former (SAD) regime had failed to deliver even an iota of benefits", Amarinder said that the former deputy chief minister was trying to mislead the farming community in a desperate bid to wean it away from the Congress.

The chief minister 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 is evident that the SAD-BJP combine is 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," said Amarinder. 

"He (Badal) should give up such theatrics if he wanted his party to remain a serious contender in the political arena," Amarinder said in a statement.

Ridiculing Badal's "attempts to divert public attention from the erstwhile Akali-BJP regime's failure on all counts", Amarinder said: "For 10 years, the Badals did not take cognizance of the plight of the farmers and were now shedding crocodile tears for them."

Countering Badal's allegations 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 the government's initiative, which had been replicated now by the newly installed Congress regime in three other states," he added.

Sharing numbers, the Chief Minister pointed out that his government had so far disbursed Rs 3,595.04 crore to 428,246 farmers against their debts, with the process for loan waiver to 159,632 small farmers also being initiated.

"Of this, Rs 1,815.78 crore had been disbursed to 317,965 marginal farmers against loans taken from cooperative banks and Rs 1,779.26 crore to 110,281 marginal farmers towards loans from commercial banks," Amarinder pointed out.

Challenging the SAD president to cite even one example of any benefit provided by their government to the farmers, Amarinder said: "These are hard facts that no amount of fabrications by Sukhbir Badal or anyone else can negate." - IANS