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NAPA meet flays threat calls to NRIs

 

CHANDIGARH: Alarmed by the ripples created by the threat calls and messages received by a certain section of NRI Punjabi community in the US, UK and Canada, senior leaders from PPP, Congress and Left on Saturday launched a scathing three-pronged attack on the ruling state government for shaking the confidence of the NRI electorate.
 
TOI on Friday had reported threat calls made by some members of political parties warning NRIs to stay away from the state polls.
 
A leading California-based NRI Sukhi Chahal, owner of website punjabfoundation.org, had revealed to TOI that he had been receiving calls with masked IDs, asking him to shut down his website and refrain from coming to India to cast vote.
 
The leaders who had gathered at the NAPA conference here took turns to use security and investment bottlenecks for NRIs as their rallying points.
 
"We have been raising this issue in the past that there is a nexus between police, land sharks and government. Much-needed overhaul of police reforms is required. The chain of command in the police has several political connections.
 
If the state government and police can't guarantee the security of NRIs, its obvious they will run to the electoral officer ( CEO) once the conduct is in place," PPP supremo Manpreet Badal said.
 
Leading members of NAPA and other NRIs attending the conference said that they did not want to be a safe bet for politicians looking to fund their poll campaigns.
 
"Dont' think that an NRI is any politician's cash cow. He is here to invest heavily in development works but not in fulfilling election manifesto promises with his money. We want to see Punjab cities like Gurgaon and Noida" said NAPA chairman Dalwinder Dhoot.
 
The visiting NRI members cornered the NRI affairs minister Balbir Bath and SAD leader Chandumajra, who skirted direct questions on the safety of NRIs coming to participate in the state polls.
 
"The fact is that NRI voters can't influence locals back home and the elections. Even if there is a 60% turnout, they might constitute 3-4 %. But that doesn't mean that Akali Dal has not done a lot for NRIs. Time and again we have made them aware of the benefits available to us," Bath told TOI.
 
He, however, said that he disapproved of threat calls made to NRIs, asking them to abstain from voting.
 
Earlier, the much-hyped all-party NRI conference, a first-of-its-kind after the voting rights were extended to the Indian expats, turned into a political slug fest.
 
"This is highly condemnable. A sense of security must be given to these NRIs who are a vital electorate of Punjab. I do not see any major development from the state government which really helps in getting smooth NRI investments in Punjab," said Sunil Jakhar, a Congress MLA.
 
However, Jakhar was also quick to take potshots at Manpreet Badal, asking him to mention a single development scheme introduced for the NRIs during his stint as the state finance minister.
 
Another Congress leader Jassi Khangura told TOI that he was not surprised with the threat calls received by some Punjabi expats, trying to expose the issues ailing the locals and NRIs.
 
"Till six years ago, there were 6,000 NRI proclaimed offenders. Today, the number has risen to 18,000. The moment an NRI comes at the airport, he is scared of either getting implicated under a false case or his life is threatened. Even the NRI commission set up by the Punjab government is a sham as it does not have any single NRI representative," Khangura said.
 
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/NAPA-meet-flays-threat-calls-to-NRIs/articleshow/11238304.cms

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