Akali Dal to contest Jalandhar by-poll on harmony plank

Chandigarh, Apr 1 (IANS): The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) core committee on Saturday resolved to contest the Jalandhar parliamentary by-poll on the plank of peace and communal harmony as well as ensure justice for weaker sections whose benefits have been 'snatched' by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

The meeting, chaired by party President Sukhbir Badal, also unanimously authorised the SAD president to select the party candidate for the Jalandhar bypoll.

It was also announced that a SAD-BSP coordination committee meeting would also be held soon in this regard.

The core committee noted that efforts were afoot to spoil the peace of Punjab and that AAP had become party to the conspiracy to destabilise the state.

It said Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was solely responsible for the current state of affairs even as it condemned him for insulting the Akal Takht Sahib Jathedar and gagging the voice of the media, intelligentsia and artists.

Sukhbir Badal said SAD was ready to make any sacrifice necessary to ensure communal harmony in the state. He said the party would continue to seek justice for all innocent Sikh youth who had been arrested on trivial charges by the AAP government and demanded all innocents be freed immediately.

The committee also took serious note of the discrimination being done unto Scheduled Castes and weaker sections by the government. It said it was condemnable that all social welfare schemes were in doldrums.

Vowing to take the AAP government's record on social welfare benefits to the people in the Jalandhar bypoll, the committee noted that the atta-dal scheme and old-age pension scheme were being implemented only partially even as all benefits under the Shagun scheme had been stopped.

"Lakhs of blue cards which make people eligible for subsidised ration, have been deleted even as the strength of the Scheduled Caste Commission had been halved from 10 to five and funds are not being spent for welfare of Scheduled Castes as per the SC Sub Plan," he said.

The core committee also took note of the suffering of the farmers who had been hit by hailstorms and heavy rains since the last more than one week.

It expressed shock that the government had reneged on its election manifesto promise to provide a compensation of Rs 20,000 per acre for crop damage before conduct of 'girdawari'.

Asking the chief minister to release an interim compensation of Rs 20,000 per acre, the core committee said farmers should be given a total compensation of Rs 50,000 per acre for crop damage.



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Title: Akali Dal to contest Jalandhar by-poll on harmony plank

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