Staff Correspondent

CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal has sought a special audience with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over Punjab's exclusion from the Centre's recently- announced Rs.17,000-crore relief package for farmers.

Mr. Badal has deputed senior party leader and former Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa to set up a meeting with Dr. Singh where Akali representatives would present the case of the State's farmers.

He said the exclusion of Punjab from the package was further proof of the ruling party's step-motherly treatment towards the State.

The Akali leader said if the Prime Minister did not listen to the plea of his party it would be left with no alternative but to hit the streets to focus national attention on the gravity of the crisis facing the farmers in the State.