Sukhbir ‘richest Sikh’,Cong asks for secret

Source: by HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Chappar (Ludhiana)

Claiming that deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal was now “the richest Sikh in the world”, the Congress wants to know how he got there so soon.

Gearing up for the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress on Thursday put up a show of unity here during the Chappar Mela political conference and tried to corner the ruling family of the Badals on black money. Led by state party president Partap Singh Bajwa, it dared chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and the deputy CM to disclose their income and assets that went into setting up a big business empire in and outside India.

The people of Punjab had the right to know how the Badals built seven-star hotels, lavish farmhouses, and transport business, and invested in real estate and liquor trade, said Bajwa in his public address. He pointed out that in 2002, the Punjab vigilance Bureau had assessed the total assets of the Badal family to be `4,326 crore. “Its present worth is beyond imagination,” he said.

It would be great service to the people of Punjab, if Sukhbir gave them the secret of generating money, said Bajwa, adding that at least, it would be some relief to the Punjab government that had no even a penny to pay its employees. Sukhbir’s had remarked recently that if voted to power, the NDA government at the Centre would bring back the black money stashed abroad.

Leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar advised the Badals to stop “day dreaming about forming the government at the Centre and learn austerity from the UPA regime. “The father and son spend lavishly on new aircraft and bulletproof vehicles,” Jakhar alleged.

Union minister for information and broadcasting and Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari said the state government’s mega projects were only “lollipops”. Former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal stated the government’s campaign against drug menace was restricted to issuing press notes.