A day after Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the Union Cabinet in protest against the Centre’s farm Bills, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday said if the SAD had put pressure on their ally, the BJP, the current situation might not have arisen.
Taking a swipe at Badal over her claims of standing with her farmer brethren by resigning from the Union Cabinet, Capt Amarinder asked why she forgot that the farmers were her brothers when the Centre had brought in the Ordinances earlier.
Accusing the Akalis of playing their own political games in this entire affair, Capt Amarinder asked the Badals why the SAD had failed to stand with the Punjab government on these Bills and even on the critical water issue.
“Did you not think even once what will happen to Punjab without agriculture and without water?” he asked the Akalis, pointing out that with the SYL issue hanging over the state, the situation was perilous and the SAD had only contributed to the crisis by supporting the farm Ordinances.
Slamming the farm legislations as part of the `Destroy Farmers, Destroy Punjab’ (Kisan maaru, Punjab maaru) conspiracy of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, of which the Akalis continue shamelessly to be a part at the cost of their own state and its people, the CM said these legislations will lead to growing angst among the people in the border state, thus giving Pakistan the opportunity to stoke more fires. Amarinder said the antifarmer move will spoil the `abo hawa’ (environment) of Punjab.
Delhi has to rethink on this issue, he stressed, adding that the legislations would undo the sacrifices made by Punjab and its farmers over 65 years to make India self-sufficient in food.
The CM said notwithstanding the Centre’s denials these new laws will eventually pave the way for the elimination of the minimum support price regime and end of the Food Corporation of India, leaving the farmers at the mercy of big corporates, as recommended by the Shanta Kumar committee. Strongly opposing the legislations, the Chief Minister also trashed the Centre’s guarantee of MSP not being tampered with, saying it was a Constitutional guarantee given by Parliament, which, in fact, the incumbent government at the Centre was trying to destroy with their brute majority.
Categorically rejecting BJP and SAD claims that Punjab was on board with the farm Ordinances, the CM made it clear that the issue of any such Ordinances or new laws on agriculture was never discussed at any of the meetings in which his government was represented at the high-powered committee set up by the Centre on agricultural reforms.