Punjab Congress candidate for the Gurdaspur by-poll Sunil Jakhar on Saturday accused the Badal family of running the state during their decade-long rule as a personal fiefdom to fill their coffers. At an election meeting in Batala, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief said the Badals were never interested in the state’s welfare. They were keen on making money for their transport service, without caring for the losses incurred by the Punjab Roadways in the process, he said.He blamed the previous SAD-BJP government’s “ill-conceived policies” for farmer suicides in Punjab and said the Congress government in the state would have to pay interest on the loan against Rs 3,200 crore siphoned off to the Centre. He said the state government may eventually have to pay a whopping Rs 7,000 crore to the central government. The Gurdaspur by-poll is scheduled for October 11.Pointing out that the BJP government at the Centre was following “anti-poor policies”, Jakhar quipped that in a country where rulers become businessmen, the common man ends up as beggars. Dubbing the Centre as “a government of industrialists”, he said despite the declining global fuel prices, the prices of petrol and diesel in India were shooting up.Small traders were angry with the Narendra Modi government, Jakhar said, adding the situation was gloomy even ahead of the festive season of Diwali. He said every time Modi comes out with his ‘Mann Ki Baat’, people feel scared about the “bombshell” he planned to let loose, referring to the prime minister’s radio programme and his announcement in November last year to demonetise high-value currency. The Congress, he claimed, alone could put a check on the country’s deteriorating situation.
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