Rollback of wealth tax a victory for farmers, says Badal

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Farmer
New Delhi, May 1: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today termed the rollback on wealth tax as a "victory of farmers" and said it was an outcome of the relentless pressure mounted by the SAD-BJP alliance.

Badal also announced withdrawal of 'dharnas' proposed to be staged by Akalis in Punjab on May 2. "Shiromani Akali Dal had raised the issue strongly.

Had SAD not raised the issue, they would have passed the Bill. It is a victory for the farmers," Badal told reporters here.

"The proposed dharnas to be staged across Punjab on the issue on May 2 have been stopped. Now the mission has been fulfilled," he said.

"I had sought time from both, Chidambaram and Prime Minister Singh, who called me back on Monday evening assuring me of a satisfactory response to my request for rollback of the wealth tax proposal," the Punjab Chief Minister claimed.

The Chief Minister said he was deeply pained at the "tactics" adopted by most seniors members of Congress, resorting to "deceit and brazen lies" at the highest forum of democracy.

"They played politics with the sentiments of suffering peasantry and farm labour," he alleged.

Criticising Finance Minister P Chidambaram for not discussing the issue with him, Badal said he has been writing to him as well as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for quite some time and had it not been him, the government would have passed the Finance Bill proposing imposition of wealth tax on agriculture land.

He claimed the "rollback has been snatched from the jaws of the Congress". "The Congress strategy was to deny, confuse, distract and finally wear down the beleaguered peasantry, but it failed in the presence of the determined approach of the farmers and their supporters," Badal said in a statement.

Releasing letters written by him to the Union Finance Minister, while raising the issue and the notices served on farmers for recovery of wealth tax, Badal said he had raised the issue with various leaders including those from the Left and other regional political parties to build public opinion against the proposal.

PTI

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