Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday vowed to fight the Centre’s malicious new Agriculture Acts constitutionally and legally, asserting that he will do whatever it takes to protect the farmers from the nefarious designs of the BJP Government.
Addressing the media in Chandigarh and earlier at Khatkar Kalan, where he sat on dharna in protest against the new legislations, Captain Amarinder said he will be consulting lawyers to work out the legal course of action for challenging the unconstitutional laws in the Supreme Court. Agitation and legal recourse will have to be undertaken simultaneously to fight these new laws and force the Union Government to rethink its decision, he said.
Asserting that he does not want Punjab’s youth and farmers to take to arms to fight for their right to live, the Chief Minister warned that these new laws will endanger the security of the border state of Punjab, as Pakistan’s ISI was always on the lookout for opportunities to foment trouble.
Punjab has lost 35000 lives to terrorism in senseless violence in the past and with the unrest among the farmers spreading to other states, the entire nation would be exposed to the ISI threat, Captain Amarinder said, adding that Pak-backed forces will try to feed on the angst in India. Pointing out that 150 terrorists had been nabbed in Punjab in recent months with huge caches of arms and ammunition, the Chief Minister said he will not let anyone disturb the state’s peaceful atmosphere, which the new legislations had the potential to do.
AICC general secretary in charge of Punjab affairs, Harish Rawat, who was accompanying the Chief Minister, announced a signature campaign beginning October 2 to collect 2 crore signatures of farmers against the new Farm Laws. These will be submitted to the President of India on November 14 to coincide with Jawaharlal Nehru’s birth anniversary, he said, adding that Kisan Sammelans would also be organized to take the fight to its logical conclusion.
Slamming the step-motherly treatment meted out on Punjabis and Punjab’s farmers to make big corporates like the Adanis happy, Captain Amarinder asked “Will the Adanis subsidise food for poor Indians?” These laws will spell the death-knell for the PDS system, apart from ruining Punjab and its farmers, he added.
Terming the new legislations as a total violation of the nation’s federal structure, the Chief Minister described the enactment of the Farm Bills as a black day for Punjab. The manner in which the laws were brought in through the Ordinances route and then pushed through Parliament without discussion was deplorable, he said, asserting that contrary to the lies being spread by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the Punjab government was never once apprised of the move to bring in such Ordinances.
Slamming the Akalis for defending the Bills for months, the Chief Minister again questioned what Harsimrat Badal was doing all this time and why she did not quit the Cabinet when the Ordinances were first brought in. “Why did the Akalis oppose us in the all party meeting? Why did they run away from the Assembly?” he asked, dismissing their hollow claims now on standing with the farmers. These claims are only meant to grab political power in Punjab, but nobody trusts them now, he said, adding that SAD’s decision to quit NDA was also the result of revolt from their own party members.
Captain Amarinder made it clear that the verbal assurances of the Centre on MSP could not be trusted. “When they can break constitutional guarantees who can trust their verbal assurance,” he remarked, questioning why MSP had not been made a constitutional right of the farmers in these Acts.