Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Wednesday announced that his government would compensate farmers if the Centre does not announce the withdrawal of ‘value cut’ on MSP in wheat procurement.
Soon after his announcement, Leader of Opposition in Vidhan Sabha Harpal Singh Cheema called the move a violation of the poll code of conduct, adding that Amarinder had done it deliberately to woo farmers ahead of voting day (May 19).
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Farmers are facing loss of money in the wake of damage to crops due to unseasonal rains. A cut of Rs 4.60 per quintal is being levied on grains for excess moisture. The state government had written to the Centre to compensate the farmers. Due to Model Code of Conduct, no announcement could be made.
On Wednesday, Amarinder made the announcement while talking to the media on the sidelines of a rally in Mehmadpura village in Samana in favour of Congress candidate from Patiala, Preneet Kaur.
“The BJP-led government at the Centre has been giving step-motherly treatment to Punjab’s farmers in a bid to undermine the Congress government in the state,” Amarinder said in the rally. Later he said that he would ensure that the farmers are not burdened for no fault of theirs. The state will subsidise the value cut on MSP, he declared after the rally.
He told the media that he had sent repeated requests, including the letters he had personally written to the Prime Minister on the issue of value cut, the central government had failed to respond so far.
Cheema, however, dared Amarinder to match up the MSP of wheat as per Swaminathan Committee report as done by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi where farmers were getting Rs 2616 per quintal of wheat against MSP of Rs 1840 per quintal. “If one has to do a violation of code of conduct, then one should pay RS 776 per quintal extra, like in Delhi instead of announcing just Rs 4.60 per quintal. I promise him (Amarinder) that I will support him in that violation. I will not utter a word against it,” said Cheema.
Earlier, during the rally, he took on PM Modi for calling Army as “Modi ki Sena” and his attempt to woo voters in the issue of national security.
He also took on the PM for his remarks on former PM Rajiv Gandhi and his continuous efforts to take credit for the achievements of the armed forces. He said that Modi would be taught a lesson by the people of India for his attempts to divide the nation with his communal agenda.
Lashing out at the Badals also for their divisive politics, the Chief Minister reiterated that the Akali leaders would not escape punishment for their alleged misdeeds, especially the sacrilege cases which were clearly an attempt to create a communal divide to woo Sikh votes.