Chandigarh, June 18 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today urged Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi not to play politics over the misery of farmers in Punjab and urged him to introspect on his own failure to mitigate the sufferings of farmer Surjit Singh who had approached him for help before committing suicide.
In a statement here, SAD general secretary Maheshinder Singh Grewal said it was clear that Rahul Gandhi was playing to the gallery as far as the sensitive issue of farmer suicides was concerned. "The cavalier attitude of the Congress President can be seen from the fact that he stopped at Fatehgarh Sahib to visit the family of Surjit Singh while on his way to Kasuali to celebrate his birthday tomorrow. It is quite apparent that the tragic demise of the farmer has not moved Rahul to cancel his birthday bash", he said.
Condemning such hit and run tactics which would never solve the problems being faced by farmers, Mr Grewal said before conducting such stage managed shows the Congress VP should tell the people why he did not address the issues brought to his notice by Surjit Singh during his last visit to the State. "The media has reported at length that Surjit had immense hope from you and that he kept watching the television for days hoping you would raise his issues and get them addressed. However Surjit never realised that you had come to Punjab with the sole purpose of a ‘photo opportunity’ and had no intention of taking up the issues of Punjab farmers seriously", he added.
The SAD leader while asking Rahul to desist from playing a fraud with the farming community, said suicides were not the creation of the SAD – BJP government but had stemmed from the anti farmer policies of successive Congress governments during the last 60 years. He said farmers had been brought to this state of affairs due to the steep hike in inputs as well as low msp fixed for foodgrain by successive Congress governments. "Rahul who shed crocodile tears in Punjab while on way to the salubrious climate of Kasauli should tell the people what step he took during the earlier ten year UPA rule to mitigate the sufferings of farmers".
Mr Grewal said the Punjab government was doing its best to address farmer issues. "Despite decades of discrimination by repeated Congress governments we have tried to soften the misery of the farming community by ensuring free power for agricultural operations. We have also taken several measures including encouraging maize cultivation and horticulture besides dairy production. All this has been done because chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is of the firm conviction that utmost efforts must be taken to ameliorate the lot of the farming community. But lot still remains to be done to wipe out the anti farmer policies of the UPA rule", Mr Grewal added.