Two Lok Sabha members from Punjab, Aam Admi Party’s Bhagwant Mann and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal Tuesday slammed the central government for not convening Parliament’s winter session, saying the Centre was “running away” from its responsibility to resolve grievances of farmers.
Harsimrat, who had resigned from the Union cabinet over the farm laws issue, demanded that a special one-day session be held at the earliest to repeal the three laws.
“The Centre knows that it is in the wrong. It knows it has legislated on agriculture which is a state subject and that farmers of all states have rejected the three Acts it bulldozed through in the last season. It knows it cannot face the people on this issue and that is why it has invented the excuse of COVID-19 to cancel the winter session of Parliament,” the Bathinda MP said in a statement.
She said parliamentarians had been denied an opportunity to raise the voice of the farmers.
“The farmers are suffering untold hardship in biting cold wave conditions and parliamentarians wanted to highlight this. They also wanted to put pressure on the government to repeal the three farm laws which have been rejected by the farmers. There is no reason to keep laws in force which the people do not want,” she said.
The government has said that the winter session of Parliament will not be held this year in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and that it will be appropriate to convene the budget session in January.
Mann alleged that instead of answering core issues concerning the farmers in Parliament, the Modi government has decided not to convene the winter session citing the pandemic. “The Modi government is shying away from discussing the issues of import threadbare, including the anti-farmer agriculture laws, which led to the farmers’ agitation,” the Sangrur MP said.
“Ever since the Modi government came to power, it has a track record of always running away from answering questions relating to the public at large,” he alleged.
Amarinder a puppet in the hands of the Modi govt: Bhagwant Mann
Mann, who is also AAP Punjab president, accused Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh of being “puppet in the hands of the Modi government at the Centre”. He said that Amarinder had “bartered the interest of Punjab” due to his “personal weaknesses” and “to protect his family members involved in serious cases of money laundering”.
He challenged the CM that “if he had the guts”, he should go to the farmers movement and tell the Modi government to address the concerns of the country’s ‘annadata’ by rolling back the three contentious farm laws.
In a statement issued from the party headquarters, Mann said, “As the chief minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh should tell the people of Punjab, especially the farmers, what decisive steps he has taken for the farmers in the four years of governance and during the ongoing kisan movement. Why don’t you utter a word against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in support of the cause of the farmers?”
The AAP MP further said: “If the Delhi CM could go to the agitating farmers and speak in support of their demands, besides providing them all kinds of facilities at the ‘dharna’ sites, why was Captain Amarinder Singh not moving out of his royal farmhouse and speak in favour of the farmers fighting for their bread and butter on the Delhi border in the cold nights of December?”
Mann alleged that the “personal weaknesses and political compulsions” of Capt Amarinder had emboldened the Modi government to arm twist Punjab and its people, adding that “a number of cases of misappropriation of funds and ED’s notices to members of the family’s foreign bank accounts and Pakistani guests had made Capt Amarinder Singh a puppet of the Modi-Shah duo”.
The state AAP chief claimed that Amarinder had been part of the “conspiracy” to mislead farmers and weaken the ongoing peasant movement by standing in favour of the Centre, which had pushed the black agricultural laws since the beginning, apparently to protect himself and his family from cases of corruption they are involved in.