Hooliganism was taking place in Punjab in the name of protests against the farm laws enacted by the Centre, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri Saturday said while accusing the Congress and other opposition parties of spreading “misinformation, disinformation and outright lies” over the three legislations. He also termed strange that the Shiromani Akali Dal, which was in favour of the legislations till September 6, suddenly started speaking against them.
“Misinformation, disinformation and outright lies are being told over the Central laws. It is being said that central government intends to dismantle the MSP system and open the agriculture sector whereby our farming community will be the losers,” Puri said.
The Aviation Minister, flanked by Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash and Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma, was addressing media at the party headquarters here.
“Sale, lease or mortgage of farmers’ land is prohibited. Such land is also protected against any recovery,” Puri said adding it was mentioned in the laws.
“Congress made the same promises regarding open market for agriculture produce in their 2017 Punjab Vidhan Sabha election manifesto and 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto. But suddenly now that have started opposing these very provisions,” he said.
Puri claimed that former prime minister Manmohan Singh and former deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia had also made recommendations to the effect that farmers should be able to sell their produce anywhere without any hindrance.
“Both these persons are economists of repute. It is not understood why Congress is opposing these Acts when their own prominent leaders have supported these in the past,” said Puri.
Claiming that the farm laws were a win-win situation for everyone, he said that the BJP-led government wanted to put money in farmers’ pockets by liberating them. When pointed out that agriculture was a state subject, Puri said that it was mentioned in the Constitution that the union government can legislate in this domain in the national interest. Farmers will be the real beneficiaries as they will get better prices, he said.
On a question regarding the failure of BJP in convincing Akalis on the positive aspects of the farm ordinances and later the Bills, Puri said that all assurances asked for by (SAD chief) Sukhbir Singh Badal had been given.
“First they asked that a written assurance be given that the MSP shall not be withdrawn. That was given by the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in the form of a letter. Then they asked for an assurance on the floor of the House and this was also done. They say they raised objections on them but I am not aware when and how they did so. Both me and Som Parkash ji are also members of the same council of ministers,” said Puri.
Som Parkash tooo attacked the Akalis saying they did a U-turn and walked out of the NDA when they saw they were losing ground among supporters (zameen khisakdi vekh ke). He added that the MSP had seen a steady increase ever since Narendra Modi took charge as Prime Minister. “We want to assure everyone that MSP will not be withdrawn nor the arhtiyas will face any problems,” Som Parkash said.
He and Puri also hit out at the protests taking place in the state against BJP leaders and outside BJP officers saying that these were being organised by the state government. While Puri termed the protests as hooliganism Som Parkash said the targetting of BJP leaders will not be tolerated.
Air Asia ki dukaan band ho rahi hai: Puri
Answering questions regarding increased connectivity of flights to Chandigarh, Puri said, “Air Asia ki dukaan band ho rahi hai. Dukan band ho rahi matlab unki parent company mein problems hain. (Air Asia is downing its shutters…there are problems in the parent company). Don’t go by a particular airline. They may be in financial stress. I should not use those words. That may be individual specific. But Chandigarh ki connectivity ki koi problem nahi hai,” he said.
Puri assured that a meeting of all stakeholders will soon be called including the Airports Authority of India, the airlines and allied businesses and a call will be taken on how more flights could be introduced from the city.
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