All political parties in Punjab Thursday backed the farmers’ decision of rejecting the Centre’s proposal while sticking to their demand of accepting nothing less than repealing of the three contentious farm laws. The parties urged Centre to ‘shed its ego’ and democratically accept the farmers’ demands in totality.
Even the Punjab Congress, the ruling party in the state that has been demanding an assurance from the Centre on MSP, market fee and RDF, it has extended full support to the farmers’ demand of repealing the laws.
PPCC chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar said that former AICC chief Rahul Gandhi had already made Congress’s stand clear.
“After meeting the President he said the Congress would not settle for anything less than what the farmers were demanding a complete roll back of the farm laws,” said Jakhar.
He added, “The Centre is now caught up in a predicament of its own making. Had they discussed the laws before taking them to the Lok Sabha, things would have been different. Now, they are finding it difficult to have a middle ground. They have lost their credibility completely.”
Jakhar added that with the Centre agreeing for amendments, they have accepted that their objective was to help the corporates and not the farmers.
“It is time that they should draft the laws from the scratch again. Only the ego is holding them back. These should be repealed in totality. I hope better sense prevails. It is a matter of nation and not ego,” he said.
Echoing similar views, Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD chief and former Deputy CM also said they would not settle for anything less than what the farmers were demanding.
“We demand that the Centre should do whatever the farmers are demanding. This is the time to watch the sentiments of the masses, which are with the farmers. The democratically elected government should listen to them. If the people do not want certain laws, their representatives cannot stick to these laws just because of their ego. They should repeal the laws and if they believe they wanted to change the lives of farmers for the better, then they should bring new laws, after taking all political parties and farmers in confidence,” said Sukhbir.
The SAD chief, whose wife and former Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had been saying that she had got an assurance from the Centre to the farmers that MSP would continue, said that the country has already witnessed unprecedented demonstrations in the history of India.
“We had urged the Centre to get all stakeholders on board. They failed to listen to us. Now, see the revolt they are facing. It is time for them to at least listen to the people now, and respect their sentiments. Badal Sahib (former CM Parkash Singh Badal) also wrote a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi two days ago. He also reiterated the same stand. Why delay? In a democracy, governments of the day cannot be rigid and hit at the federal structure,” said Sukhbir.
Opposition Leader and AAP MLA Harpal Singh Cheema was also with political rivals, Congress and SAD, when he said there laws should be repealed because the masses wanted that, “The movement demanding repealing of laws has now gone beyond the farmers’ unions.
Now, it has become a Lok Lehar. Now common people are at the front. Just go and look at the way the agitation is going stronger by the day. People have ration supplies to suffice six months. It is time for Centre to shed its ego”. He added that with the government accepting the amendments, they had agreed that they had made a mistake in the form of farm laws.
Parminder Singh Dhindsa of the SAD (Democratic) party too voiced similar concerns as other political parties when he said the Centre should listen to the farmers. “MSP is not the only issue. If farmers are demanding a repeal then they need to be satisfied. They have apprehensions. That is why they want these laws to be scrapped,” he said.