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Will Increase Farm Debt Waiver Amount as Revenues Grow: Amarinder Singh

"My only wish is that everyone in Punjab should be happy, the state should be free of drugs and unemployment, there should be prosperity."

Kharar: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Sunday lambasted the BJP for allegedly trying to destroy India’s unique strength of diversity with their “divisive politics”.

“The BJP is trying to destroy India’s unique strength of diversity with their divisive politics,” he said.

Amarinder denied being soft on the Badals and asserted that he would not spare anyone found guilty, as per law, of any crime against the people of his state.

“Even if Prakash Singh Badal is found guilty, he will be punished,” said the CM, but reiterated that he would follow the due process of law in accordance with constitutional norms.

“They (Badals) will have to face the consequences of their actions, if found responsible,” he added.

“I believe in the Constitution and the rule of law, and am totally against politics of vendetta.., he said.

He was referring to former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s earlier comment this year that his successor’s (Amarinder Singh) only aim was to put him behind bars.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patriarch was then reacting to the chief minister’s address in the Punjab Assembly in February wherein he vowed to punish those guilty of the “horrendous” 2015 sacrilege incidents in the state.

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Badal had earlier termed the Special Investigation Team formed to probe sacrilege and police firing incidents in 2015 and Justice Ranjit Singh Commission set up by the Congress government as a “drama” and asserted: “Amarinder’s only goal is to put me in jail.”

Sitting under a tree in village Chuahr Majra, Kharar, about 18 km from Chandigarh, Amarinder Singh on Sunday took a wide range of questions received on Twitter and from people who took part in the #TwitterChaupal organized in association with @TwitterIndia.

The #CaptainDiChaupal saw people from all walks of life ask questions to chief minister on a variety of subjects, ranging from agriculture to education, health, politics, sports and infrastructure, and some personal ones, a press release said.

Had he not been in politics, he would have remained in the Army and would by now have retired from there, said Amarinder, in response to a question tweeted by his party colleague, Sachin Pilot.

He did not have any national aspirations, and had always wanted to remain in Punjab politics, the chief minister responded to another personal Twitter query, pointing out that he had become member of Parliament twice and resigned both times in the interest of Punjab.

In 2016, Amarinder Singh had resigned as MP in protest against the “injustice” meted out to the people of Punjab following the November 10 Supreme Court verdict that year on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement which he and most other state parties had been opposing.

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Singh was elected to Parliament in 2014 defeating BJP heavyweight and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.

Earlier, Amarinder had stepped down as Lok Sabha member in protest against the entry of the army into the Golden Temple during Operation Blue Star” in 1984.

“My only wish is that everyone in Punjab should be happy, the state should be free of drugs and unemployment, there should be prosperity. That is my ideal Punjab, he said, adding we will ensure that this dream is achieved .

Asked if he would contest again in 2022, the Chief Minister said he hoped the “ideal Punjab” would have become a reality by the time his current term ends, and he would be able to hand the reins to the young generation, unless the state still needs him.

The Chief Minister agreed with a young university student who lamented the spread of drugs and the fact that youth were going abroad for jobs, and said his government was committed to generating jobs.

On the issue of drugs, Amarinder said his government was enforcing the anti-drugs campaign strictly, with the help of the STF, and more than 28,000 drug peddlers had been arrested.

He said that smuggling of drugs into Punjab from regions as far as Kashmir and Gujarat made the task difficult but the police was working closely with the police forces of other northern states to put an end to the problem.

Amarinder reassured another questioner that as revenues grew, his government would increase the farm debt waiver amount to bring an end to the farmers’ woes.

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To a question on the status of the promised smart phones for youth, the Chief Minister said a tender had already been floated for distribution of 3.5 lakh phones in the first phase and the process would commence after the elections.

Asked about the STF probe into the sacrilege cases following the Election Commission orders to shift out IPS officer Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, the Chief Minister said his government had approached the EC for a review of its decision.

Normally, courts do not intervene in election matters, he said, explaining why the government was not moving the court against the EC orders.

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