New Delhi: Punjab Congress MPs and MLAs led by former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday met the Prime Minister to seek an industrial package for the state and CBI probe into cases of "political vendetta" against party workers.

The issue of delayed procurement of wheat and declaration of bonus of Rs 100 on it as was done in Rajasthan, besides an industrial package for the state to help generate employment opportunities for the youth were discussed, Amarinder Singh said after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament.

"All the MPs and MLAs of Congress from Punjab had come to to discuss some important issues which we thought should be made known to the Prime Minister," he said.

 "We also sought his (the PM's) intervention for a CBI probe in cases of political vendetta against Congress workers in the state at the hands of Akalis," he said.

When asked about the response of the Prime Minister on issues raised by them, Singh said "he gave us a patient hearing and assured us of looking into the demands."

On the specific request for a CBI probe into alleged false cases against party workers, Amarinder said "he has asked for the documents with more concrete information in these cases".

On the problems faced by farmers in wheat procuremnt, he said that "for over 20 days, wheat has not been procured. The Centre provides money to the state to do so and they should look into this."

Amarinder was supported by a number of Congress MPs from the state and as many as 43 MLAs out of the total of 46, including Congress Legislative Party leader Sunil Jakhar.
However, his bete noire and former deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal was conspicuous by her absence, besides some other MLAs, who had recently sought a change of Punjab Congress president in the wake of party's second successive defeat at the hands of the Akali-BJP combine in the assembly polls.

The Leader of Opposition in Punjab assembly, Sunil Jakhar later said that all the MPs and MLAs also demanded a Rs 100 bonus on wheat, as done by Rajasthan, which would help the farmers to tackle increasing prices and inflation.

He said the delegation also apprised the Prime Minister about the "vendetta politics unleashed" by the Akali Dal Government in the state against Congress members and demanded a CBI probe into such cases.

The Punjab leaders also demanded a CBI probe into misuse of funds under central government schemes to Punjab from 2007 to 2012 after a thorough audit, alleging that funds were being misused by the present regime.

Jakhar said the House Committees of the state Assembly had found irregularities in funds meant for central schemes but no action has been taken against the officials involved even after their indictment by these Committees. "Instead, they have been rewarded," he alleged.

The CLP leader said the central government has provided financial resources through various centrally sponsored schemes to the state government over the years, but its improper utilisation, wilful diversion, pilferage and misappropriation of funds have reached gigantic propositions in Punjab and the benefits have not reached the people.

On the special economic incentives for Punjab, the Punjab leaders have demanded more industrialisation and a package on the lines given to hill states.

"Development of the state has come to a stand-still during the SAD-BJP tenure. Due to sheer bad governance, lack of industrialisation vision and inability of the state government to achieve diversification of agriculture there is rampant increase in unemployment and use of drugs among the youth of Punjab.... As a consequence of the selective financial package to the hill states, major industrial houses have stopped new investments in Punjab and even existing industries have started to migrate from here," he said.

The Congress leader demanded extension of sanctioned freight corridor to Attari/Amritsar border and setting up of integrated check post at Hussainiwala border in Ferozpur on the lines of the one  in Amritsar after negotiating with Pakistan, reopening of the pre-independence era railway link between Bathinda and Karachi via Abohar/Hindumalkot, besides special consideration to border districts and setting up food processing and large scale PSUs.


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