Insaaf rally to articulate Punjab's demands: Sukhbir

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Chandigarh, Feb 25 (UNI) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president President Sukhbir Singh Badal today criticised the Congress leadership of Punjab for spreading canards about the performance of the SAD-BJP Government on the eve of the historic ' Insaaf Rally' in Delhi.

''The Congress leadership had been totally unnerved by tomorrow's rally'', he said.

Addressing mediapersons before leaving for the national capital, Mr Sukhbir Badal said the SAD-BJP leadership was aiming to use the platform of the rally to highlight some of the genuine demands of different sections of the people of the state.

''We had even requested the state Congress leadership to join us for the rally and strengthen Punjab's case before the Central Government as it is not a time to score political brownie points but to unite in Punjab's interest'', he added.

However, the Congress has only resorted to a negative and vilifying campaign, he lamented.

The SAD President refuted the Opposition's allegations by asserting that the work put in by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the SAD-BJP Government in their very first year was there for everybody to see. Inheriting empty coffers from the previous Congress Government, the present government was working with a long-term vision to put the state back on the path of economic recovery, he added.

Regarding the issues likely to be raised by the SAD and BJP leadership in the Insaaf Rally, the SAD President stated that the agricultural economy of the state was in a precarious condition with farmers reeling under heavy debt and insecurity. The State's only resource, soil and water, had been over-exploited to fulfill national targets through an intensive farming regime, he added.

The magnitude of state's farm debt was around Rs 26,000 crore and the per farmer household debt in Punjab stood over Rs 41,000, which was the highest in the country, he added.

''Yet, it was surprising that the Central Government had chosen to gloss over the fact while granting relief packages to Congress ruled states like Andhra Pradesh and Vidharbha in Maharashtra'' he added.

''We are going to Delhi to argue our case before the Union Government led by Dr Manmohan Singh to give the Punjabi farmer his legitimate due by increasing crop MSP and wiping out all agricultural loans in national interest'' the junior Badal added.

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