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Need to resolve farm issues, or villagers won’t allow poll campaign: Amarinder

In an Idea Exchange with The Indian Express, Singh, who has floated a new political party after resigning from the Congress, said, “If you cannot have a solution [to farm issues and the three laws], none of us will be able to go [for campaign] because farmers won’t allow you to enter villages.”

Amarinder Singh

The issues over the three farm laws, which have led to protests by farmers from several north Indian states for over a year now, must be resolved to get things back to normal in Punjab, and villagers in the state will not allow political parties to campaign for next year’s Assembly polls if these laws were not repealed, former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said on Tuesday.

In an Idea Exchange with The Indian Express, Amarinder, who has floated a new political party after resigning from the Congress, said, “If you cannot have a solution [to farm issues and the three laws], none of us will be able to go [for campaign] because farmers won’t allow you to enter villages.”
Amarinder also said he suspects that the farm agitation could provide a platform to anti-national elements.

“I have the gut feeling that the Government of India must respond and end this farm crisis.. Why are these weapons coming (in)? Punjab is peaceful and has no [militant] recruits…where will they get recruits from…from a movement.”

Therefore, he said, “I am saying, please finish this [issue] and also take care of drones [coming from Pakistani side].”

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Amarinder said pro-Khalistani outfits such as Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) had been arranging to smuggle consignment to the Indian side.

On the ‘group of 23’ Congress leaders who have raised concern on the party’s functioning, he said although he is no longer in the party, he feels leaders such as Manish Tewari, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Shashi Tharoor and Kapil Sibal, who were part of this group of leaders, should have been heard. “These people are assets of the Congress party, he said. “Why are they being pushed away? If you think you can get away with older generation and create something new starting from the scratch, I don’t it can work.Look at our own Punjab history where Budha Dal [people] were thinkers and Tarna Dal [people] executors..Here you want to tell old men to go out.”

Amarinder said he wanted to be remembered as somebody who “achieved a great deal [for the State].” He added that government under him had implemented 92 per cent of promises as compared to last such performance where “[Former Andhra Pradesh CM] Chandrababu Naidu implemented 83 per cent of promises.”
“I think I have a lot of productive life left. I will fight for the state. I will fight the anti-national elements. Look at the drones and bombs coming [from Paksitan],” said Amarinder, asking that what was the objective and intent of such smuggling.

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He said the Punjab is “cribbing about” BSF’s enhanced jurisdiction, even though it was increased in other states as well. He said a drone flew 31 km into Punjab territory from the Pakistan border during his tenure, which “breached” the 15-km jurisdiction of BSF.

While welcoming the central government’s decision to reopen the Kartarpur Corridor, Amarinder said it should also resolve the farners’ agitation or else it would be impossible to canvass in the countryside.

Asked about his isolation in Congress following his resignation, he said party men are scared of getting their works scuttled but they would come forward in his support once the code of conduct is enforced.

First published on: 17-11-2021 at 03:47:35 am
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