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Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar today said young and fresh faces will find a place in the state Cabinet when its expansion takes place. "Though Cabinet expansion is the sole prerogative of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, I as the party's state president can say that not only fresh but young faces will be included in it and representation will be given to all sections of the society," he said. The state Congress chief told reporters after paying tributes to Pritam Kaur, the elder sister of former Union Home Minister Buta Singh and mother of former Punjab minister Joginder Singh Mann. Terming Amarinder a "statesman", Jakhar claimed that the chief minister had shown the way to others (states) by waiving Rs 2 lakh loans of over 10 lakh farmers in Punjab. Claiming that the farmers crisis is also in BJP-ruled states, he said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP cannot run away from their responsibility towards tillers by simply saying that it was a state subject." Jakhar claimed that the prime minister owed an answer over the issue and said this grave situation would not have arisen if the Modi government had set up Price Stabilisation Fund for crops. "How come that the central government did not come to the help of farmers even when it had saved Rs 9 lakh crore during the last three years due to fall in the price of petroleum products," he said. Amarinder has given a breather to farmers with loan waiver. But the real solution of the crisis was laid in long- term planning and diversification of crops for which the Punjab government is already working, the Congress leader said. "The chief minister has acted like a statesman on the SYL issue.
He has broken all political barriers and met Modi on the issue. Badal sahib (Prakash Singh Badal) could not do so when he was the chief minister, even though the SAD was an ally in the NDA government," he said. "The chief minister's single-minded obsession is Punjab's interest. We stand by Punjab's waters and the state's development," Jakhar said. He claimed that what Amarinder had done in 100 days, ex- deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal could not do in 10 years whether it was attracting investments, giving subsidised power to industries and dissolving truck unions. On the sand mining issue, Jakhar said while the SAD-BJP government "looted" the state and generated only Rs 40 crore for the state exchequer, the present government had earned Rs 500 crore in sand mines auction. On AAP MLA Sukhpal Khaira accusing Rana Gurjit Singh over irregularities in the auction and land grabbing, Jakhar asked Khaira to apologise from Rana and Punjabis for his utterly baseless and frivolous allegations. "Captain Amarinder Singh had already ordered judicial probe into sand mines issue and Khaira was only diverting public attention from real issues by harping upon baseless charges",he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)