The farmers parked their tractors on the side of highways and demanded to exclude agriculture from the WTO agreement and implement a law to guarantee minimum support price (MSP).
Taking a swipe at the Opposition leaders who skipped the Main Punjab Bolda Haan open debate on the state’s issues in Ludhiana, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said here on Wednesday that they ran away from the ‘debate’, but he won’t allow them to escape.
Calling the reasons cited by the Opposition leaders for abstaining the debate frivolous, he said their every misdeed will be exposed before the people.
In over a 90-minute debate held at the Punjab Agricultural University (Ludhiana), the CM was sitting between four empty chairs kept for the top Opposition leaders, Punjab BJP chief Sunil Jakhar, state Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal. He said ancestors of these leaders have sown thorns in the way of Punjab by constructing the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.
Mann further said that for the sake of their vested interests, these selfish political leaders had agreed, planned and executed the construction of this canal. Everyone knows that former Union Minister Balram Jakhar (father of Sunil Jakhar), along with Captain Amarinder Singh, accompanied then prime minister Indira Gandhi to perform the groundbreaking ceremony of SYL at Kapuri (Patiala).
Similarly, he said former chief minister of Haryana Chaudhary Devi Lal had hailed his then counterpart in Punjab Parkash Singh Badal for allowing the survey of the canal. The hands of these leaders are drenched in the crime against the state and history will never forgive them for backstabbing Punjab.
The Punjab CM said if these leaders have been ousted by the people it doesn’t absolve them of all the crimes they committed against the state. Since these leaders enjoyed the fruits of power for a long time in the state, they are answerable to the people of state.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), however, said the CM had compromised Punjab’s stand on the SYL canal by asserting that Rajasthan and Haryana had complete rights over the state’s river waters, even as it accused him of mouthing blatant lies and wasting Rs 30 crore to conduct a “one man show” .
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sunil Jakhar said the CM didn’t apologise for his government’s failure to take up the state’s case on SYL in the Supreme Court. Leader of Opposition Bajwa said the grand debate called by the CM was actually a grand drama. He said the AAP Government has once again expressed its dishonesty regarding the looting of Punjab’s river waters.
The Congress leader lamented that while every AAP legislator was given 50 passes to take his people to the debate hall, the Opposition parties were deprived of this facility as the ruling party wanted only its people to enter the debate hall.