Former BJP ally’s budget put-down: ‘Anti-farmer, anti-poor’
Terming the Union Budget as “anti-farmer, anti-poor and anti common man”, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday said it “also punished Punjabis for supporting the peaceful agitation against the three hated agricultural laws with nothing being earmarked for the state”. He claimed that “the sole focus of the BJP-led central government was on selling off national assets to its corporate friends”.
Sukhbir said that “at a time when there was a need to increase direct benefit transfers to farmers as well as under privileged sections of society, the NDA government was focusing on disinvesting Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). This will give a further boost to crony capitalism as corporate players are set to buy these PSUs at dirt cheap prices.”
Asserting that the “central government must move away from presenting electoral budgets which catered solely to specific states which were going to the polls”, Sukhbir said “this will lead to haphazard development and is not in national interest”.
He also asked the government to move away from hype with words like ‘digital budget’ and ‘atamnirbhar’ saying: “The situation is very different on the ground. A large section of people, including farmers, poor and the middle class have not even been covered by the current budget.”
Earlier in the day, he along with party MP and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal registered a protest in the Lok Sabha when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman got up to present the union budget. The SAD leaders demanded that the Prime Minister address the concerns of the farmers first, saying “the annadaata was not being heard despite protesting peacefully against the hated Agri laws since months”. When this demand was not met, both party MPs staged a walk out.
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