January 23, 2021 8:29:54 am
Reacting to farmer unions’ rejection of Centre’s offer to put three agri laws in abeyance for 12 to 18 months and forming a joint committee, both Congress and SAD leadership in Punjab have said farmer unions are right in turning down the offer as Centre has “lost credibility” and that Supreme Court has “already put the legislations in abeyance”.
“Farmer unions see the (Centre’s) offer as yet another ploy, yet another trick which government is trying to play with them in an attempt to dissipate the agitation. Sea of farmers is there at the gates of Delhi. Centre’s offer is aimed at making the agitation lose steam, but the struggle is getting strengthened with each passing day,” Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Sunil Jakhar said over phone.
“There is nothing new in the offer. The Supreme Court has already put these farm laws in abeyance. Centre has lost its credibility. It is playing dirty tricks. On one hand Defence Minister Rajnath Singh says in an interview that he does not want anybody to call protesting farmers as terrorists or naxalites. On the other hand, there are other BJP leaders who are calling them names,” said Jakhar, adding that there was a massive “trust-deficit” and farmers believed that any such talks or offers will not yield any result.
Added Jakhar, “I hope and pray that farmers’ concerns are resolved and laws be repealed so that farmers can go back and tend to their families and no more lives are lost.”
SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said, “First of all, it makes no sense that farmers are given such an offer two months after they have been protesting. What Centre has offered, the Supreme Court has already done.”
Cheema added, “The Centre’s offer also showed that there was no urgency or emergency to enact the farm laws. For the last 72 years, the country has run without such laws. Also, when SAD said that a select committee should look into these before the enactment, the government did not accept that. Now, they are talking of forming a committee. The laws should be immediately repealed. The stubbornness of the government has already caused a lot of economic devastation. There is people’s movement against these laws.”
SAD Kissan Wing Secretary-General Gurpartap Singh Wadala said, “If the motive behind it is sincere and if there is any positive development that creates a chance for a breakthrough between farmers and government and that is coming from the government side, farmers should take it very seriously and with an open mind. The agitation has been going on for a long time and if there is an offer which lights a ray of hope for solving the crisis that offer should be considered.”
However, Wadala added that farmers’ apprehensions were genuine as, “history has shown all such committees or commissions or lengthy meetings among the stakeholders has ended up without any result”.
Saying that it would have been better had Centre given a longer time frame like three years or so for putting the legislation in abeyance, Wadala added, “Centre should have given a clear assurance that the issues would be resolved in a time-bound manner and within the framework of the ongoing negotiations with the farmer unions.”
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