In a fiery address on the inaugural day of the winter session, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann launched a scathing critique against the BJP-led Centre, accusing it of subjecting not only Punjab but all Opposition-ruled states to biased treatment. Mann asserted that these states were being targeted either through financial restrictions or intimidation tactics orchestrated by agencies like the ED or the CBI.
Subheading: Appeal for State Cooperation Amidst “Anti-Punjab” Sentiment
Seeking the cooperation of the Assembly, Mann emphasized the necessity for Punjab to attain self-sufficiency, citing a prevailing “anti-Punjab” sentiment. He lamented the allocation of the cash credit limit (CCL) for foodgrain purchases, portraying it as akin to receiving charity. The CM also highlighted challenges in sourcing coal for thermal power plants, indicating the need for intervention at the highest levels to address logistical issues.
Subheading: Accusations of Defamation and Threats to MSP
Mann accused the Centre of unfairly blaming Punjab’s farmers for pollution, asserting that growers in other states were equally responsible for crop residue burning. He further alleged the Centre’s intention to abolish the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for foodgrain, a move vehemently opposed by the state.
Subheading: Struggle for Fiscal Rights and Anti-Punjab Sentiment
Expressing frustration, Mann claimed that Punjab was not receiving its rightful share of the Rural Development Fund and had to consistently remind the Centre to disburse the GST collected from the state. The Chief Minister concluded by accusing the Modi government of harboring an “anti-Punjab syndrome,” going so far as to claim that the BJP would not hesitate to eliminate the name of Punjab from the National Anthem if given the chance.