M A I N   N E W S

Go beyond Gujarat, Badal tells ‘Sardar’ Modi
Manas Dasgupta

Ahmedabad, September 9
Punjab Chief Minister and NDA ally Parkash Singh Badal today praised Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the country’s “greatest leader” and asked him to go beyond Gujarat.

Speaking at the inauguration of Vibrant Gujarat Global Agriculture Summit-2013, Badal said, “I thank the greatest leader of the country and Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi for organising a first of this kind summit to address the problems of country’s farmers.”

“Gujarat is the state that gave birth to Mahatma Gandhi, which gave us Sardar Patel and now it has given ‘Sardar’ Modi to our nation,” said the veteran Shiromani Akali Dal leader.

Badal, the only ally of the BJP so far to come out in open support of Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, also announced that a similar summit would be held in Punjab next February. Strongly criticising the Congress-led UPA government’s agricultural policies, Badal, who was the chief guest at the inaugural session of the three-day summit, warned the centre that the villages and the farmers must not be neglected by the government.

“Our farmers are docile and peace-loving, they suffer losses in silence. But if they rebel, they will be uncontrollable.

Don’t wake up the sleeping tiger, or else there will be huge losses,” Badal took the Centre to task for its faulty farm policies.

Inaugurating the summit, Modi said faulty banking policy of the Central Government was responsible for the huge debt burden on farmers as more than 70 per cent of the farmers in the country were forced to go to private moneylenders who charged exorbitant interest rates from them.

“Once they fall into the dragnet of the private money lenders, they can never come out of it and it ends only with their deaths,” he said pointing out that the Government of India statistics confirmed that more than 2.7 lakh farmers committed suicide in the country over the past 20 years due to debt. A delegation of the Sikh farmers re-settled in the border district of Kutch, who allegedly faced “ouster” under the Modi regime, later called on Badal and informed him that they were feeling “safe and secure” in Gujarat and were not facing any threat from the state government.

Before returning to Punjab in the evening, Badal had a meeting with Modi and other officials of the state government on the issue of Sikh farmers in Kutch and was re-assured that there was no question of ousting them from their lands.





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