Chandigarh, August 12: Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar on Saturday lashed out at BKU–Ugrahan for its politically motivated protests during Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s visit to Mansa yesterday, describing the act as an attempt to divert attention from the state government’s efforts to help the aggrieved cotton farmers of the region.

Instead of appreciating Captain Amarinder’s proactive intervention after taking suo motu cognizance of reports of crop infestation by  white-fly, a handful of farmers, under the banner of BKU-Ugrahan, chose to give it a political colour, Jakhar said in a statement issued here, criticising the organisation for trying to promote its vested interests at the cost of the farming community.

The government expected farmer bodies to support its efforts to alleviate the woes of the community, which had been reeling under severe distress due to the misrule of the erstwhile Akali government over the past 10 years, he said, adding that less than half a dozen farmers had tried to hijack the Chief Minister’s visit to Mansa with their crude attempts at playing to the gallery.

Jakhar dismissed as ridiculous the justification given by the BKU-Ugrahan farmers that they resorted to slogan shouting to draw the attention of the Chief Minister. Captain Amarinder had specially gone to the villages to meet the aggrieved farmers and was easily accessible to all of them, said the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief. He said the Chief Minister had accepted the memorandum submitted by the BKU-Ugrahan and he would surely look into their demands.

Jakhar said the Congress government, despite the critical fiscal situation of the state, had gone all out to bring relief to the beleaguered farmers and had even taken over the debts of the worst-affected small and marginal farmers, as promised in its poll manifesto. Small outfits like BKU-Ugrahan and political rivals like the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) were trying to negate the government initiatives in an attempt to mislead the people of Punjab in order to promote their vested political interests, he said.

Referring to SAD allegations that the Congress government was indulging in political vendetta by booking false cases against their workers, Jakhar said such statements were clearly triggered by fears of being exposed for their own misdeeds, including implication of thousands of people in false cases during the decade-long rule of the Badals. The Chief Minister had issued clear directions to all officials and party workers against engaging in any act of political vengeance against the Akalis, said Jakhar, adding that the law will take its own course in all such cases of commission and omission.

The PPCC urged one and all to play a constructive role in facilitating Punjab’s progress, to which the Captain Amarinder government was totally committed.