The Punjab unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has termed the sudden spree of raids by the Income Tax Department being conducted on ‘arhtiyas’, businessmen and traders as a retaliatory step by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
In a statement issued here, state unit president and MP Bhagwant Mann said that the Income Tax department conducted raids on about two dozen ‘arhtiyas’ and businessmen of Punjab who were openly supporting the ongoing peasant movement, terming it an attempt to intimidate them and all other sections. Mann said that intimidating those who dared to raise a voice against the BJP for their rights was its old habit, adding that the move won’t succeed this time around.
The AAP MP said that corrupt and weak leaders could be cowed down or intimidated by the central agencies, like the ED and CBI, but this manipulation of the central government would not work to scare away the farmers, laborers, ‘artiyas’ and traders and others who stood rock solid behind the farmers and their movement.
Bhagwant Mann said that even as the Modi government was trying to ignore the agriculture and farmers, the businessmen-traders were aware of the fact that the country’s economy revolves around agriculture and farmers, adding that the three black agriculture marketing laws were a brazen attempt of the Modi government to ruin the farmers, labourers shopkeepers, ‘arhtiyas’, businessmen and transporters, among others in the state.
Mann said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should, instead of browbeating farmers to withdraw their stir, get off from his high horse and initiate talks with the protesting farmers and repeal the three agricultural laws immediately as per their demand, ensuring purchase of their all crops at the MSP.
He added that the issue of the farmers will not be resolved until or unless the Prime Minister holds talks with the agitating farmers with intent to address their genuine concerns as tagging ‘puppet’ ministers like Narendra Tomar and Piyush Goyal for the purpose was just a waste of time in the name of talks.
Bhagwant Mann has alleged that the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana was harassing local people who were helping the protesting farmers along the Delhi-Haryana borders. He claimed that the mobile toilets and other facilities being sent for the convenience of the agitating farmers on the Delhi-Haryana border were also being stopped at the behest of the Khattar government.
Mann said that while on the one hand, the Khattar government was not even taking care of cleanliness at the protesting sites, on the other, it was posing hindrances in the Kejriwal-led government’s bid to extend adequate facilities to the farmers, which he termed as undemocratic and condemnable.