Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday opposed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020, saying that as a party of the farmers, it cannot support anything which goes against the interests of the farmers in the country, especially in Punjab.
"SAD is essentially an organisation of farmers. Every Akali is a farmer and every farmer is an Akali at heart. The party has always championed the cause of the farmers and has made supreme sacrifices to safeguard their interests. That legacy can not and will not compromise or diluted, no matter what price we have to pay," Sukhbir Badal thundered in the Lok Sabha.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, while addressing the Lok Sabha, said that the government erred grievously in not taking stakeholders – farmers and their organisations – on board. ”Ever since the Ordinances were issued, we have been asking the Government not to press with it and not to bring this bill. But our voice was not heeded to,” said Sukhbir Badal.
He said that when these Ordinances were being discussed in the cabinet, his party’s representative, Harsimrat Kaur Badal had raised objections and voiced the concerns of the farmers. But the Ordinances were still issued. We had hoped then that the Govt will correct the mistake when a Bill on these would be introduced. But that has not happened.”
The SAD president effectively voiced the sentiments of all the farmers saying that Punjab will be the worst affected by the effect of these radiances and the Bill to convert these into an Act. “Punjab and Haryana have built the best marketing infrastructure from their own resources. We will be the worst affected if the assured marketing of farmers’ produce at MSP is endangered.”
Sukhbir Badal articulated the popular reaction to these Bills with an anecdotal reference to his meeting with a farmer. “I asked a farmer why he was opposed to these Ordinances. He compared these Ordinances with the Jio initiative. ‘Jio first gave free connections. But once they had captured the market, they misused the monopoly and raised the tariff unreasonably.
Similarly, the big corporate houses will enter agricultural marketing and will first give liberal prices to lure the farmers. But once they capture the market and monopolise, the farmers will be at their mercy and will never get the prices they deserve.”
Reciting his party’s long history of struggles for farmers’ interests, he said that Akali patriarch Sardar Parkash Singh Badal had spent 16 years in jail and one of the main reasons for that was that he always fought for the farmers’ cause. “The country has produced three great Kisan leaders – Sardar Parkash Sing Badal, Chaudhary Charan Singh, and Chaudhary Devi Lal. The SAD, therefore, has to live up to the legacy of Sardar Badal.”