Updated: October 4, 2021 7:42:38 am
The SHIROMANI Akali Dal (SAD) on Sunday trained its guns at the ruling Congress party and said that Punjab had ceased to have a government, with the chief minister himself not knowing that he was the head of the state, and his party not even considering him as the CM.
“The one who wanted to be the CM, became the deputy CM (Sukhjinder Randhawa). The other who wanted to be the deputy CM, is not even a minister. Everyone is fighting just for the chair. For the next three months, they are going to loot you all,” SAD president, Sukhbir Badal, said while addressing the masses during his first rally in Bathinda seeking compensation for cotton crops that are under Pink Bollworm attack.
Sunday’s event was the first major rally by the SAD in Punjab after the party had earlier discontinued its ‘Gall Punjab Di’ poll outreach programme following vociferous protests by farmers.
Sukhbir’s father and SAD supremo, Parkash Singh Badal, also made a public appearance by the side of his son on Sunday, addressing the massive crowd in Bathinda’s Thermal Colony.
“My lifespan has increased by another 2-3 years. it seems that I will hit a century now,” Badal senior, who barely makes a public appearance, joked…”
Parkash Badal, a nonagenarian, said one more betrayal was done by BJP by bringing in farm laws. “I salute the grit and resilience of our farmers. When the ordinances were first brought in the Cabinet, Harsimrat Kaur Badal was the Union minister. She had stated to the Cabinet then that this ordinance shouldn’t be made bills without the consent of farmers and farm unions. They [the BJP] agreed to her and later betrayed her by passing it first in Lok Sabha and later in Rajya Sabha.”
Talking about the protest by farmer unions against SAD leaders in many rallies due to which the ‘Gal Punjab Di’ programme had to be cancelled, Badal senior said, “We are with the farmers. No matter what they say about us, we will be with them. They stopped us from organising our previous programme, and we discontinued it in between. Today, we are here to demand compensation for the damaged cotton crop on their behalf again. We are the only party that has worked for the farmers and will continue doing so.”
He added, “I felt utterly betrayed and deeply pained when the new agricultural bills were introduced in the Parliament to convert ordinances into Black Laws….”
He went on to say that Harsimrat resigned as a Union minister in response to the three farm laws and the SAD broke their 27-year-old alliance with the BJP. “I returned my Padma Vibushan and we are still standing tall with farmers.”
Sukhbir chimed in by saying,”You all need to realise the difference between people who are your own and people who are indifferent. “Apne taan apne hi hunde ne and we are your own party,” he said. Badal senior said,”…They (Congress) are not serious about the interests of Punjabis. When we buy a buffalo, we do a lot of research in the market. So this time, don’t make a mistake when you choose your next government.”
If CM doesn’t announce compensation soon, will protest dharna outside his home’
Sukhbir said, “If Punjab CM doesn’t announce compensation for cotton farmers soon, we will stage a dharna outside CM’s residence.” The SAD-BJP government in 2015 had compensated the farmers at the rate of Rs 8000 per acre when whitefly had hit their cotton crops. On Sunday, Sukhbir Badal said that farmers must get compensation in the range of Rs 70,000 to Rs 80,000 per acre for their crop loss due to Pink Bollworm. “We had spent Rs 650 crore on compensating the farmers, while the government is busy in buying sprays,” Sukhbir said.
Harsimrat said seven farmers had died by suicide in Bathinda parliamentary constituency post the Pink Bollworm attack. “Farmers were forced to take this extreme step because of the Congress government’s failure to announce quick compensation to them,” she said.
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