Congress candidate for Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll Sunil Jakhar today questioned the “silence” of SAD chief Sukhbir Badal on former minister Sucha Singh Langah who had been booked in a rape case. Addressing party workers during a series of meetings in Batala, the Punjab Congress chief said the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Badal had not “bothered to utter” a single word on the issue though two days has passed since the police filed a rape case, after which Langah is “absconding”.Langah was booked on September 28 on the complaint of a woman who alleged that the Akali leader had been raping her repeatedly since 2009. Charging the Badals with “destroying” Punjab, Jakhar attacked former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and accused him of garnering votes in the name of the ‘Panth’ and farmers and failing to do anything for them, “as exposed by incidents such as Behbal Kalan (Fardikot) firing and farmer suicides”.The PPCC president also came down heavily on the Badals for tagging him as an ‘outsider’, saying he had been taking up issues of all areas of Punjab first as the Leader of Opposition and now as Punjab Congress chief. He recalled that Parkash Singh Badal would often take him to meet the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh because, as the Leader of Opposition he would strongly plead the state’s case before him. If elected, he promised to be the voice of every section of Punjab, particularly the poor and the oppressed, in Parliament. Describing BJP candidate Sawarn Salaria as a ‘Sarmaydaar’ (businessman), Jakhar said a person who did not “understand the pain and anguish” of the people could not take up their issues with the Centre.Observing that the minorities were feeling “extremely unsafe” under the Narendra Modi rule at the Centre, the Congress leader claimed that Punjab continue to remain peaceful and harmonious because of the policies of the Amarinder Singh-led government. The Congress government was working in the interest of the people, including the Gurdaspur border area, said Jakhar, assuring that a roadmap would be drawn for the development of the constituency.The “ill-conceived and anti-people” policies of the SAD-BJP government had led to the closure of 80 per cent of the industry in Batala. Also, sugarcane farmers had not got their dues for the past two years, forcing them to take the extreme step of suicide, Jakhar said, adding that the farmers could not celebrate Diwali in the past 10 years as they would be camping in Mandis for release of paddy payment.
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