Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the passage of a Bill making the entire State a single ‘mandi’ by Congress ruled Chhattisgarh had exposed the fraud played on farmers by chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh who had played a fixed match with the centre and refused to protect the farming community from the ill effects of the agri-marketing laws.
Addressing a virtual conference, the SAD President said even as Congress ruled Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan governments had passed similar laws to protect their farmers, Capt Amarinder Singh had left the farmers of the State at the mercy of the centre.
“The Congress government in Punjab has deliberately amended the central Acts under the Trade subject which in on the concurrent list instead of bringing in legislation under the Agricultural head which is on the State list as was done by the Chhattisgarh government. This amounts to selling off the interests of the State to the central BJP government”, Mr Sukhbir Badal added.
The SAD President said he had all along suggested that Punjab should bring in legislation to ensure its farmers did not face exploitation at the hands of private players.
“It was mooted that a Bill be passed to make the entire State a single mandi (principal marketing yard) to negate the implementation of the three agri laws in Punjab. The chief minister rejected the proposal saying it was not feasible but his Chhattisgarh counterpart does not feel so. This makes it clear that Capt Amarinder Singh is playing to Delhi’s tunes and does not want to do anything which will upset the centre”.
Requesting farmer organizations to recognize who was with them and who had backstabbed them, Mr Sukhbir Badal said Capt Amarinder was directly responsible for the present state of affairs in Punjab including the economic blockade of the State.
“If Capt Amarinder Singh had repealed the central agri laws besides passing a Bill making the entire State a single mandi the future of the farming community could have been secured. Instead of doing this the chief minister chose to play into the hands of the centre”.
Mr Badal also congratulated the Kerala government for declaring minimum support price (MSP) on fruits and vegetables, saying this was much needed to give a boost to agriculture. He said this along with ensuring government purchase of crops for which MSP had already been declared by the centre was the need of the hour. “The State government should intercede in case the entirety of crops for which MSP had been declared were not purchased by central agencies. But it seems too much to ask this from the Congress government which has backstabbed the farming community by even refusing to annual the central agri laws”.
When questioned about a recent statement of BJP President J P Nadda quoting him as saying the SAD had parted ways with the BJP under pressure from the Congress, Mr Badal said such statements did not behove Mr Nadda’s stature.
He said the SAD was a hundred year old party which had constantly fought against Congress excesses since decades. He said the SAD had parted ways with the BJP when the latter refused to repeal the central agri bills and struck a crippling blow to the very future of agriculture in Punjab.