The Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday said that the Bills passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha had thrown the farmers of the state “completely back at Modi’s mercy”.
“All this is being done under a deep-rooted conspiracy between the state and the Centre governments to throw cold water on the farmers,” said Akali leader and former Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia while addressing mediapersons here.
Majithia said that “the Bills and the manner in which they had been brought and passed yesterday was clearly an orchestrated and foxy move by the Modi-Captain duo to completely destroy the farmers’ cause by throwing the responsibility for purchase of crop up in the air between the state and the Centre”.
Majithia also condemned “the clean chit [given to minister] Sadhu Singh Dharamsot” and demanded a “court-monitored” inquiry into the post-matric scholarship funds scam, saying “it affects the future of our children belonging to poor and socially and economically exploited families”.
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Reacting to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s “boast about readiness to face the President’s rule in Punjab”, Majithia asked, “Do you seriously want us to believe that Punjab is not already under the President’s rule? What else is it when the state government lacks the courage even to bring a Bill to protect its farmers which would not require the approval of the President, in other words, of Modi?”
“Captain is merely a transparent fig-leaf to cover the President’s rule already in force in Punjab. Everyone in Punjab knows that not a leaf stirs in his government without clearance from Modi. This Bill was just one more example,” Majithia said.
The Akali leader said that “the Vidhan Sabha session had been convened with only two objectives and on both, the farmers had been stabbed in the back. The first objectives was to reject the Centre’s black laws while the second was to render these laws infructuous and unimplementable in Punjab by declaring the whole of the state a principal market yard. Both these objectives were cleverly defeated by ensuring that the Bills require the Presidential assent, or in other words, the assent of the Centre which has already implemented the black laws against farmers”.
Majithia said that Captain and the BJP are just scratching each other’s back as both have a massive negative baggage in Punjab. Captain has chosen to side with Modi and stabbed the farmers of Punjab in the back. “He has played with the future of Punjab’s children. History won’t forgive him.”
The former minister said that “the sole reason behind the SAD supporting the Bills in Vidhan Sabha yesterday was to show solidarity with the farmers”.
Majithia said that Captain had deliberately brought the Bills under provisions in the concurrent list in which Parliament has overriding powers over the state legislature. If the CM had brought the Bills using the state list route, there would have been no need for a Presidential assent. But the Centre did not want it this way and Captain did not have the courage to say no to Modi. His bravado is just for show-off here.
Majithia added, “Amarinder was not a kid not to know that the President would never give assent to this Bill. He had himself admitted this much at Khatkar Kalan only days before the session. Then why did he not adopt the state list route?”
The Akali leader said that “the Bills have created serious new problems for the farmers as their sale below MSP would be invalid. They cannot claim payment if the buyer backs out. The effects of this dangerous clause will become clear as days pass”.
Majithia also asked “how would the state government help the farmer if the private player and the Centre do not buy his crop at the MSP? Will the state government give any guarantee on its purchase? This was one of the major reasons for calling the session. The problem remains where it was. The issue was not even discussed.”
Other legislators present on the occasion included Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal, Manpreet Singh Ayali, Pawan Kumar Tinu, N K Sharma, Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra, Kanwarjit Singh Rozy Barkandi and Dilraj Singh Bhundar.
Kejriwal calls Punjab farm Bills drama, Capt Amarinder Singh asks him if he is with farmers