A day after Shiromani Akali Dal rejected the state’s farm Bills, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Friday lashed out at Sukhbir Singh Badal for “repeatedly compromising interests of the farmers” with his “brazen lies and petty political games, which were clearly aimed at promoting the Centre’s anti-farmer agenda”.
“In rejecting the state’s amendment Bills, which his party had backed in the Vidhan Sabha, Sukhbir has not just exposed his lack of moral scruples but had also echoed the recent statements of various Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders”, said the CM in the statement here.
“This showed a clear sign of collusion between the SAD and the BJP, suggesting that the entire drama of (party MP) Harsimrat Kaur’s resignation from the Union Cabinet and the withdrawal of the Akalis from the NDA was nothing but a total farce aimed at befooling farmers and sabotaging their fight against the central laws,” he added.
“First you actively and wholeheartedly supported the Centre’s malicious farm ordinances, then quit the NDA calling their bills anti-farmer, then indulged in a whole lot of political drama through protest rallies and yatras across the state in purported support of the farmers, then openly voted for the state government’s amendment Bills and now rejecting the same,” the CM said.
On Thursday, Sukhbir, who presided over a core committee meeting of his party here, had said opposition members were shocked to see how the chief minister “defrauded” Punjab by “betraying” the unanimous resolution passed by the assembly.
“This resolution mentioned that it outrightly rejected the Centre’s acts and committed the state government to declaring Punjab a principal market area. But the bills, which were subsequently brought by the Amarinder Singh government, carried none of these provisions. He is guilty of misleading and betraying the trust of the House,” Sukhbir had alleged.
The Punjab Assembly on Tuesday had adopted a resolution and passed four bills to negate the Centre’s farm laws.
Slamming the SAD chief, Amarinder Singh said nowhere it was mentioned that the Punjab Government was committed to declaring the entire state as a principal market area, as claimed by Sukhbir. “Are you trying to say that your MLAs had trouble reading and understanding the 370-word resolution, of which around 100 words were just names of Ordinances/Acts?” asked the CM.
The spate of SAD about-turns on such a vital issue critical to Punjab and its farmers showed that they had absolutely no compulsions in signing a deal even with the devil if it could help protect their political interests, CM said.
“After all this, do you really expect the farmers to believe in the sincerity of your trumped up claims of caring about the farmers’ interests,” Amarinder asked Sukhbir.
In any case, Amarinder said, what was important was not declaring the state as Principal Market Area but to protect the MSP and ensure that the state retained control with no punitive action, which were the main concerns of the farmers. The state government had, after taking legal and expert opinion, chosen the best method to do so, but the Akalis seemed stuck on a particular methodology, irrespective of whether it would work or not, he added. Also, even if the entire state was sought to be converted into a principal market area, such approach would not have been free from the requirement of Presidential consent, which, in the backdrop of the central farm laws already in force, was the most expeditious way of implementing the will of the state of Punjab, he added.
Amarinder also lashed out at Sukhbir for misleading the farmers by lying about the Constitutional and legal position of the state. The Constitution gives the state clear and unequivocal right under Article 254 (II) to seek amendments to central laws, he pointed out, adding that the legislations of the Government of India also fail to stand scrutiny on grounds of being anti-federal.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines