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June, 2008





:The Punjab government would involve top Punjabi artists, writers, critics and connoisseurs in framing the state's culture policy. This was stated by the Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal while honouring the Punjabi singing sensation, Malkit Singh for being the first crooner from Asia to be honoured with the status of a 'Member of the British Empire' (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace last month.

The singer whose chart-busting "tootak-tootak" number was the first to catapult Punjabi singing on to the global stage, called on Mr. Badal this morning to, as he put it, ' receive parental blessings after being decorated in foreign lands'. He said that he would be available for any input that the Chief Minister might seek in promoting Punjabi culture both at home and abroad.

The celebrated singer was the maiden bhangra artist to make it to the Queen's Honours List to honour people for distinguished and long-standing service to the nation or the community in various fields.

Malkit went down the memory lane as he recalled how he had yearned to be a singer during his childhood days and used to dream of one day being in the company of 'statesman politician' Parkash Singh Badal "who had a tall presence in national polity ever since he spearheaded the movement for democracy in the wake of the Emergency days. I place the affection showered on me by a figure of such historic stature as Mr. Badal as head of government in my home state even above the honour bestowed on me by the Queen, because Mr. Badal's gesture symbolizes the love and affection of the people of my state. Mr. Badal inspired me to go even higher the field of art and culture which I had been serving for this cause for the past 24 years in United Kingdom," a visibly moved Malkit told a bevy of waiting TV journalists at the Chief Minister's official residence.

He also requested the Chief Minister to initiate steps to check the menace of piracy and vulgarity in Punjabi singing. He said that Punjab had a rich cultural heritage which must be preserved at all costs for our future generations. "People all across the globe had been fascinated by the charm and ingenuity of Punjabi culture. Weare entitled to take pride in that and have an obligation to preserve it in its purest form," said Malkit.



Chandigarh June 9, 2008

-Member of Parliament and Shiromani Akali Dal president Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today advised the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Mrs. Rajinder Kaur Bhathal to ask the congress-led UPA government at the centre to subsidize the escalation in fuel prices for Punjab in view of the state's outstanding contribution in the critical areas of food security and defense

"This is no time for gimmicks to please your bosses in Delhi or to mislead the people of Punjab through gestures that lack substance and sincerity. At stake is the survival of the common man in Punjab in the face of crippling inflation and general price rise," the Akali chief told Mrs. Bhattal in a statement here. He said that the SAD would make an appraisal of the situation to make recommendations to the state government in the light of the inflationary pressures caused by the Union Government's economic policies and decisions, especially the fuel price hike Coming down heavily against the PPCC chief's "hollow theatricals in presenting a memorandum on fuel hike to the Punjab Governor", Mr. Badal said, "does she not know that the state governor has no locus standi in the matter. The correct platform is the Prime Minister's office at the government level and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi's residence at the political level. But of course, Mrs. Bhattal and other Punjab Congress leaders simply do not have the courage to go and meet the central leaders even on an issue of such vital importance to the people."

Describing Mrs. Bhattal's 'gimmick' as a "desperate attempt to bleed Punjab for the sins of her party's government at the Centre, Mr. Sukhbir Singh asked, "What fiscal sense does it make for the state to shell out from its exchequer money meant for development of villages, towns and cities while the centre would be blissfully filling its kitty through this hike in fuel prices? Why should Punjabis be forced to pay for the fiscal incompetence of the Union government? Today, it is the fuel hike on which Mrs. Bhatthal wants the state government to bear the burden of the center's decision. Tomorrow, it would be the prices of food grain and other essential commodities. It is typical of the Punjab Congress leaders' mindset to pile on to the misery of Punjabis instead of putting pressure on Delhi to withdraw its anti-people policies and decisions," said the SAD president.

Mr. Badal asked Mrs. Bhattal to lead a delegation of her party men to Dr. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi for a subsidy on fuel prices for Punjab and ' if they do not listen to her, then we would be willing to accompany her to the President any day she chooses for this", concluded Mr. Badal.





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