Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today asked chief minister Bhagwant Mann to tender an unqualified apology for malicious lies uttered against the Badal family during a sham debate function at PAU, Ludhiana within ten days or be ready to face a criminal defamation suit.
In a statement here, the SAD president said during a one man monologue at PAU, Ludhiana which was boycotted by the entire opposition, the chief minister indulged in character assassination by claiming that former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had arrived at a quid pro quo by increasing the height of the Bhakra Main Line canal in 1998 in return for creation of an irrigation branch to carry canal water to the Badal farm in Balasar village in Haryana.
Asserting that this was furthest from the truth, Mr Sukhbir Badal said while Mr Devi Lal became chief minister of Haryana for the first time in 1977, the Balasar branch came into being on 12-3-64. He said the Balasar branch was part of the Bani branch which itself was part of the Panjoana branch of the Bhakra canal system.
The SAD president also challenged the chief minister to show one letter former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had written to the centre calling for early construction of the SYL canal when in jail during the period of Emergency. “This attempt to tarnish the image of Mr Badal, who fought Emergency resolutely, will not be tolerated and Mr Bhagwant Mann will be held to account for his malicious statements”.
Mr Badal said similarly the chief minister had fraudulently claimed that 62 permits of buses belonging to the Badal family had been cancelled during his sham debate. He said the truth was that extensions given to permits of all private and government buses including those of the Punjab Roadways and the PRTC had been held void by the Supreme Court.
Asserting that the chief minister had earlier tried to defame the Badal family by alleging that it had been granted land in Gurgaon for a hotel in return for agreeing to construct the SYL, Mr Badal said “this is also a blatant lie”. He said the hotel site in Gurgaon was granted to the Badal family upon application as per the industrial policy of the State in 1989 while the SYL canal project was initiated by former chief minister Giani Zail Singh by giving in principle approval to the same in 1976. “I also want to remind Mr Bhagwant Mann that while Devi Lal had approached the Supreme Court demanding construction of the SYL canal in 1979, former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had simultaneously challenged Section 78 of the Punjab Reorganization Act to thwart construction of the canal”. He said Mr Badal had also led the Kapoori Morcha to ensure the canal was not constructed.
Mr Badal said the chief minister had also lied about development work done during successive SAD governments. “I want to remind the chief minister to look at all infrastructure projects in the State including thermal plants, airports, highways, irrigation channels and Mandis and check when they came up. All of them came up during the tenure of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. The AAP government does not have one achievement to its credit yet it has taken a loan of Rs 50,000 crore during the first one and half years in government”. EOM