Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday asked Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to issue a white paper on his alleged role as well as the Congress government’s participation which led to the framing of the three controversial central agricultural Ordinances.
Addressing a press conference here, SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema charged that the CM had betrayed the farmers of Punjab by supporting various provisions contained in the Centre’s Ordinances.
He said it was “shocking” that Capt Amarinder was now “uttering blatant lies” to “hide” his involvement in supporting the Ordinances.
Cheema said not only was Punjab’s CM a member of the high-powered committee which framed these farm sector Ordinances but the state’s finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal also attended a meeting of the committee in Mumbai.
He said: “The Congress government also sent a six page note to the Centre, which formed its reaction to the discussion on the Ordinances. It had been proved beyond doubt that the Congress government had actively participated in the framing of the Ordinances. The state government must issue a white paper detailing all the meetings, ministers and officers who had participated in such meetings and minutes of the meetings”.
Cheema said, “All this is necessary to make it clear to the people as to who betrayed them.”
The SAD leader also said that the Congress-ruled Punjab government’s response highlighted the need for market reforms on the ground that freeing the agriculture market was the only way farmers could get higher prices for their agricultural produce. He said the response also stated that market reforms would promote private investment.
“It also admits that the draft resolution suggested scrapping of the Essential Commodities Act which has now been amended. When the Congress government had admitted all this and more in its correspondence with the Centre, it should not try to befool the people by lying on this issue,” Cheema said.
Referring to a statement made by minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on contract farming, Cheema said the Congressman had talked about a contract farming Act brought in by the SAD-BJP government in 2013 but had refused to specify if he had opposed it then or not.
He said Randhawa had also refused to tell if the Act had been beneficial to farmers or not by presenting the relevant data. Asking Randhawa not to play such cheap politics, Cheema said if the Congress government felt the Act was not beneficial to farmers it should have revoked it by now.
Capt Amarinder Singh has kept the heat on Sukhbir Singh Badal-led SAD for its “failure” in stopping the Narendra Modi government from promulgating the three “anti-farmers” and “antifederal” farm sector Ordinances earlier despite being its key ally.
The CM has also said that the introduction of the three farm sector Bills in the Lok Sabha by the BJP-led NDA government on 14 September to replace the Ordinances had “totally exposed” the “farce of the SAD’s pretence of protecting the interests of the farmers” of Punjab.
The war of words between two arch rivals of Punjab politics has thus continued to rage on the issue.