Sidhu does ‘chai pe charcha’ at Amritsar tea stall; targets NDA govt over ‘pro-corporate’ insurance policies

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 5

Amritsar’s famous Giani Tea Stall on Cooper Road here had an expected guest on Tuesday morning with senior Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu landing up at the iconic spot for a “Chai pe Charcha” session with those already present there.

Discarding the chair offered by the stall owner, Sidhu preferred sitting on one of the wooden stools on the adjoining lane on the roadside and insisted on having tea served to customers in ‘glassi’ (glasses) instead of cups. 

The passersby, especially the morning walkers, stopped for an interaction with the cricketer-turned-politician.

Sidhu obliged them with an opportunity to click selfies.

The former minister enquired about their well-being and patiently listened to their grievances before taking on the Union Government for allegedly favouring the big capitalists and looting the common man.

“Today, the farmers are fighting not only for their own cause but for the rights of every Indian. The farmers are the flag-bearers of our fight for rights. We must support them. How could they trust the government’s word-of-mouth assurance which could not fulfil its constitutional commitment under the GST to pay Punjab an increment of 14 per cent every year?” he said.

Citing stats, Sidhu claimed that the total debt upon the Government of India in 67 years (1947-2014) was just Rs 54 lakh crore, whereas under the BJP rule, it got escalated to over Rs 70 lakh crore between 2014 and 2019. 

“If you divide by 67 years, the debt upon India rose by Rs 74,000 crore annually, meaning Rs 6,200 crore per month. Since 2014, debt upon India has risen by approximately Rs 7 lakh crore every year, means Rs 60,000 crore every month. “Consequently, they have increased the burden on every common Indian by ten times. The biggest burden on life is debt, that’s why the traders and farmers have been put under pressure, leading them to commit suicides,” he said.

In 2014, he claimed, the Centre brought a 5:25 scheme that implied that the loan that was supposed to be paid back in five years could be done in 25 years. “But, it was designed to benefit the big corporate houses only as it was applicable only for loans above Rs 500 crore. The common people do not know about these tactics, that’s why I am here to expose the Centre’s nefarious designs. These loans are generated through public sector banks that offer common man’s savings, recurring deposits or fixed deposits. Now, in the name of solving outstanding non-performing assets, the government has been allowing corporates to open banks,” he said. 

Sidhu said the government is run with common man’s money and every Indian has to pay back through taxes and the GST and demonetisation has broken the backbone of common traders and consumers.

“What is the government doing with your taxes? It is taking away your hard-earned money and handing over the state resources to a few powerful capitalists. We should not become mute spectators in democracy. We should unite and every Indian has to become political to fight for their rights”, he said.

As someone from the gathering asked Sidhu to come out to lead Punjab and “hit sixes for them”, Sidhu replied, “ I am always there to empower the voice of the people and encourage each one of you to come forward to fight for rights.”

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