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Posted at: Mar 8, 2019, 6:59 AM; last updated: Mar 8, 2019, 10:00 AM (IST)

At Moga rally, Rahul challenges PM Modi to debate on Rafale deal

Says will waive food legacy debt; BJP sowing hate, Guru Nanak’s philosophy will triumph

Capt to SAD: Your minister in cabinet, did nothing on debt waiver

  • What did you (SAD) do when the amount reached Rs 31,000 crore? Your minister (Harsimrat Kaur Badal) is in Union Cabinet, yet you failed to resolve the issue. — Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab CM
At Moga rally, Rahul challenges PM Modi to debate on Rafale deal
Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi (C) gestures as he addresses during a party campaign, ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, at a Congress rally in Killi Chahlan village near Moga on March 7, 2019. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service
Killi Chahal (Moga), March 7 

Congress president Rahul Gandhi today challenged PM Narendra Modi to a debate on the Rafale issue, alleging that public money was being given to “certain industrialists” for vested interests.

Addressing a rally at Killi Chahal village in Moga, he said: “Industrialist Anil Ambani opened a company only 10 days before the award of the Rafale contract. It was awarded to him in minutes by cancelling the earlier deal. But the Rs 31,000 crore food legacy debt incurred by Punjab, which fought a battle against terrorism for 20 years, has not been waived by the Centre”. 

Rahul Gandhi promised that should the Congress come to power at the Centre, not only this debt of Rs 31,000 crore, but also loans of farmers and farmhand would be waived. Accusing the BJP of spreading hatred, he said theelections would be an ideological fight and Guru Nanak's philosophy of love and respect would triumph. 

“The BJP and PM are spreading hatred in the country against which Guru Nanak spent his entire life... In a way Guru Nanak's thoughts are being attacked.”

Without naming the PM, he reiterated the “chowkidar chor hai” charge. “The missing Rafale files would have shown that the arrival of jets was delayed because of parallel negotiations by the Union Government, endangering the lives of IAF pilots.”

Criticising demonetisation, he said: “Modi had talked about bringing black money back to the country. But where is that black money now? The move only helped some industrialists and BJP leaders to turn their black money into white.”

He also alleged that “faulty” implementation of GST had ruined small traders. “I promise to simplify GST and introduce a single tax across the nation, if voted to power.”

CM Capt Amarinder Singh said his government was committed to providing jobs to the youth. “I promise to put behind bars those responsible for incidents of sacrilege. Police officials behind the Behbal Kalan police firing won’t be spared either.”

Dwelling at length on the food legacy debt, the CM lashed out at the PM for giving “mere assurances” on resolving the matter. “I met Modi not once, twice, or thrice... (but) at least five times on this issue. He assured me he would look into it. Our Finance Minister Manpreet Badal met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, but he too gave only assurances.” 

Blaming the previous SAD government for the debt, the CM asked: “What did you (SAD) do when the amount reached Rs 31,000 crore? Your minister (Harsimrat Kaur Badal) is in the Union Cabinet, yet you failed to resolve the issue. And you burdened the state by converting Rs 31,000 crore of cash credit limit gap into long-term loan. Why should we pay it?”

He launched a scheme to waive loans of farm labourers. Along with Rahul Gandhi, he awarded debt waiver certificates to 11 beneficiaries. The scheme will benefit 17,826 landless farmers in Moga district. State Congress chief Sunil Jakhar lambasted Modi for “forcing the country into war for political gains”.

Congress incharge for Punjab Asha Kumari accused the Akalis and the BJP of plunging a prosperous Punjab into the drug net. Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Finance Minister Manpreet Badal and Congress MLAs were among those present on the occasion.

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