Gurdaspur, October 5, 2017, With no farmer leader in the Lok Sabha to protect their rights, the farming community had been completely sidelined by the Modi government, which had ruined the country’s agrarian economy with its anti-farmer policies, Punjab Congress president and Gurdasur nominee Sunil Jakhar said on Thursday.Addressing a series of meetings in Gurdaspur, Dera Baba Nanak and Batala, the Congress candidate for the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll said that in the absence of any representative in the lower House, the farmers found themselves being completely ignored by the central government in important decisions, including GST. The Modi government had imposed GST on tractors and even `atta’, without consulting the farmers, who were already burdened by farm loans, said Jakhar, promising to fight for the rights of the farming community in the Lok Sabha.As a farmer himself, Jakhar said he could well understand the plight of the community, who were being cheated of their hard-earned money by the central government, which was only promoting the welfare of corporate houses. He wondered how Badal, also a farmer, failed to understand the problems of the farmers and take them up with the Modi government during his chief ministerial tenure.Vowing to raise the voice of all sections of the society in Parliament, Jakhar said the erstwhile Badal government in Punjab, and now the Modi government at the Centre, only believed in filling their own coffers at the cost of the common people. While Modi wears a Rs 4.5 crore worth of suit, the common man was only worried about arranging Rs 450 for his child’s school fee, he added.In an obvious reference to former Akali minister Sucha Singh Langah, charged by the police in a rape case, Jakhar said some people were insulting Panth with their actions. In fact, what the Akalis and BJP did in the last 10 years was in front of the people, said the Punjab Congress chief, referring to the pesticide scam in which former Agriculture Minister Tota Singh was allegedly involved. Accusing Badal of befooling both Panth and farmers, Jakhar recalled the Behbal Kalan police firing, saying the orders came directly from the house of the then chief minister, who was trying to shield the culprits of the Bargari sacrilege case.Jakhar vowed to bring back the Rs 3200 crore siphoned away by the Badal government through the foodgrain scam and contrasted it with the farm loan waiver of the Captain Amarinder Singh government. After the Dr Manmohan Singh government at the Centre, it was the Captain Amarinder government in Punjab that had taken such an initiative in the interest of the farmers, he added.The Congress nominee came down heavily on the Modi for the spiralling prices of essential commodities, particular petrol and diesel, and said he would battle all anti-people policies of the central government. Jakhar, who was accompanied by several party MLAs, once again challenged Sukhbir Singh Badal and BJP candidate Swaran Salaria to come out and debate with him on critical issues of interest to the people. Many Akali workers today joined the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), giving a further boost to the party ahead of the October 11 Gurdaspur by-election.
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