Amritsar, Punjab: Taking a cue from Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has moved away from Operation Bluestar to a more relevant issue concerning the plight of Punjabi farmers in Kutch area of Narendra Modi’s Gujarat and sought an answer from his opponent and BJP candidate Arun Jaitley on the issue.
In a statement issued here on Monday, the Congress candidate contended that Jaitley owed an answer not only because he is contesting from Amritsar, but also because he is a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat for the last 14 years.
Recently, during a video conferencing with members of the Amritsar (rural) District Congress Committee (DCC), Gandhi had asked his partymen to highlight the plight of the Punjabi farmers in Kutch during the election campaign.
“Ideally, as Jaitley has been claiming himself to be a Punjabi, he should have raised the Punjabi farmers’ issue with the Gujarat government long back, as he enjoyed a privileged position there, which is evident from his third term in the Upper House from that state. Unfortunately, he has not done anything even now when he is contesting from Punjab and becomes all the more important for him to take up this issue,” stated the former chief minister. He questioned Jaitley’s silence over the plight of the Punjabi farmers who, he claimed, are being selectively targeted and forcibly evicted from the land they cultivated and turned fertile with their sweat and blood for the last 50 years.
However, he expressed doubts whether his BJP rival actually had any idea about the Punjabi farmers from Gujarat. “I honestly don’t expect him to know about such an issue since he is not even remotely concerned with it”, remarked Amarinder, adding that having come to Punjab now he should have learnt by now of the issue.
Hitting out at Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal for overlooking the plight of these farmers, he said he was not at all surprised by Badal’s silence, who otherwise proclaims himself to be the farmers’ messiah, “since he turns a blind eye at everything that does not affect his personal or family’s fortunes.”