AICC secretary differs with Union Minister on free power

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Ludhiana, Feb 12 (UNI) All India Congress Committee (AICC) Secretary Manish Tewari has reiterated that the Congress was committed to the welfare of the farming community and was for the continuation of the free power facility to the farmers of Punjab.

Speaking to mediapersons here today, Mr Tiwari did not agree with the views of Union State Minister for Industries Ashwani Kumar who had recently advocated withdrawal of free power to farmers. Mr Kumar, who hails from Gurdaspur, is a member of the Rajya Sabha from the state.

''These views of Mr Kumar may be his personal opinion and not the party's stand,'' he said.

Lambasting the state government for its failure in generating revenue, the AICC secretary said ever since SAD-BJP came to fore in Punjab, wrong policies had pushed a prosperous state towards bankruptcy. He further said the government had already imposed entry tax and speculations were rife that octroi would be re-imposed and free power would be supplied to the farmers very soon.

''All this goes against the very spirit of the election manifesto of SAD-BJP and promises made to the electorate,'' he added.

Mr Tewari also said that during the Congress rule in Punjab, the government extended various subsidies, including free power, because it had successfully generated surplus revenue. ''But the present government has miserably failed to attract any investment in the state besides failing to frame policies for strengthening the economy,'' he claimed.

The AICC secretary highlighted that the input cost in farming was going up with every passing year and in order to ensure that the agrarian sector continued to flourish, subsidy in the form of free power was a must.

Referring to the claims of the SAD-BJP leaders of bringing mega project worth thousands of crores to the state, Mr Tewari said the government was only fooling the masses. The state government was taking credit of the initiatives taken by the Congress government during its successful five-year rule in Punjab, he claimed.

Mr Tewari cliamed that the Congress would wipe out the SAD-BJP in the elections to around 100 municipal councils/committees of Punjab due to be held in April this year. He claimed that people were fed up with the ''autocratic'' rule of the Badal family.

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