Chandigarh, June 30 : Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the Aam Aadmi Party’s anti- farmer agenda was out in the open with its State Convenor Sucha Singh Chottepur recently announcing that AAP would partially withdraw subsidies once it came to power in Punjab.
Stating that this was the real face of AAP, the SAD president said now that the announcement had been condemned universally AAP and its State Convenor were trying to wriggle out of it by mouthing falsities. He said this was a typical reaction of AAP leaders. "They always follow a hidden agenda but when exposed they try to brave their way out of controversies by resorting to further lies".
Mr Badal said this was not the first time that AAP had revealed its anti- farmer face. "Earlier AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal had during a visit to Punjab stated that Punjab did not have any spare water and that the SYL canal should not be concentrated". He said soon after both AAP and Mr Kejriwal went back on the statement and supported Haryana’s stance on the SYL canal.
Speaking on the issue of free power subsidy, Mr Badal said the farmers of the state were facing challenging times as agriculture input costs had increased manifold and income from agricultural activities had also decreased. He said to speak about withdrawing free power facility at such a time spoke about the party’s callous and inhuman attitude towards the farming sector of Punjab.
Stating that the SAD- BJP alliance was the sole political entity in Punjab which was committed to ensuring continuity of free power facility for farmers, the SAD president said even the previous Congress government of Capt Amarinder Singh had discontinued this facility for a long period. "Continuation of the free power facility is one of the cornerstones of our government and we will not budge from this commitment", he added.
Mr Badal said unlike the AAP, the SAD had always stood firm with the farming community and was subsidising the State electricity utility to the tune of Rs 6,500’crore. He said any farmer having a tube well motor with 7.5 HP would accrue an electricity bill of Rs 30,428 if not for the free power facility.
The SAD president also stated on the occasion that the SAD-BJP government would continue all subsides to the farmers and social security schemes like Aata–Dal, and free health insurance would continent but cautioned the people that AAP had a hidden agenda to scrap all welfare schemes if it ever came to power in Punjab.