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Punjab Govt Would Continue Subsidies: Sukhbir

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the SAD-BJP government would continue with subsidies until the economy of debt-ridden farm community, industry suffering due to "biased" attitude of the Centre and common people reeling under inflation is put back on track.

Badal, who is also ruling Shiromani Akali Dal chief, made it clear that the question of withdrawal of any subsidy or facility being provided to any section of society in the state does not arise as these were the outcome of SAD-BJP government’s commitment to the people of the state.

Sukhbir's remarks came a few days after his cousin Manpreet Singh Badal was sacked as Finance Minister and expelled from SAD over differences with the party on subsidies and reported conditional debt waiver offer from the Centre.

The stand of Manpreet Badal on ending subsidies in return for debt waiver programme went against the declared stand of SAD over the issue.

Addressing a public gathering here Sukhbir reiterated the resolve of Punjab government to continue pro-poor, pro-farmer and pro "aam admi" policies and said nobody can force the state government to go against the basic philosophy of the party.

Lashing out at Manpreet, the Deputy Chief Minister said "how can we charge Rs 20 per kg for atta (flour) instead of Rs 4 and Rs 100 per kg for dal (pulses) instead of Rs. 20 from BPL families? We cannot snatch the bread from the mouth of poor families unable to feed their families in this Congress- induced inflation age".

Taking a dig at Manpreet, Sukhbir claimed the former wanted that government should charge Rs 15-30,000 monthly power bill from farmers besides stopping free 200 unit power to Scheduled Caste families.

"Had we acceded to his contentions, free travel to students and senior citizens would have to be stopped. Besides, government hospitals would have to charge 250 times more for a slip instead of present Rs 2 from poor and needy patients," he said.

Sukhbir Badal said personalities are not important and it was the party that makes the leaders.

"A leader without the support and platform of the party is a non-entity and without the roots of party such leaders cannot survive," he said.

COURTESY: OUTLOOK, OCT 23/10

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