Expressing concern over suicides by debt-ridden farmers in Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s senior state leader and Leader of Opposition (LOP) in the Assembly, Harpal Singh Cheema, on Thursday charged that people of the state were “fed up” with the policies of Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government.

After visiting the house of the farmer father-son, who took their lives in Dasuya five days ago, Cheema said the Amarinder government was “not just a government of lies but also a government of negligence”. The deceased fatherson in their suicide note had purportedly blamed Capt Amarinder and his “false promises of loan waiver” as the reason for their extreme step.

In his reaction to this incident, the AAP leader alleged that Capt Amarinder’s false promises was leading to deaths in the state, which, he charged, did not seem to affect the CM.

“Amarinder had promised in his manifesto that he would waive off all the farm loans and relieve them (farmers) of their debt. But four years have passed, not a single rupee has been waived off. Waiting for this relief farmers are now committing suicide in despair,” said Cheema.

He said that the incident of Dasuya was not a singular incident of this kind as two days ago a farmer in Tarn Taran died by suicide because of indebtedness and that just a year prior to that his son had taken his life because of the same reason.

Cheema said that reports were continuously surfacing about state farmers dying by suicide because of the excessive debt burden on them. He said that these farmers had voted for the Amarinder government because the CM had made a “big promise” of loan waiver but “sadly did not deliver”.

Highlighting some figures related to the deaths of the farmers, Cheema said between 24 June and 1 September 2020, more than 65 farmers had died by suicide because of indebtedness in the state. “The state of farmers in Punjab is grave but this does not seem to affect Captain Amarinder, ” he said, adding that frequent farmer suicides showed that the Amarinder government had “betrayed” the farmers of Punjab.

The LOP charged that it also showed that the pro-farmer stance being taken by the Amarinder government was nothing but a “facade”. Lashing out at the CM, Cheema asked, “How many more deaths does the state have to see before Captain responds to this crisis.”

The AAP leader said Amarinder has become a “modern day Nero who does not mind seeing the state burn whilst sitting in his plush farm house”. He said in the upcoming budget session of the Punjab Assembly, the AAP would be the voice of these grieving farmers.