Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday lashed out at Akali president Sukhbir Singh Badal over his persistent and shameless politicization of the new Agriculture Laws, which his party was responsible for imposing on the hapless farmers in the first place.
These antics and political tirades will not help the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) restore its lost credibility in Punjab, whose people, especially the farmers, had completely rejected the double-speaking Badals, said the Chief Minister.
Captain Amarinder termed as shocking the gutter level politics into which the Badals had plunged the party, which had a long history and legacy of protecting Punjab’s interests, in order to promote their political interests. The lack of political integrity of Sukhbir Badal and former union minister Harsimrat Badal had doomed SAD forever, he added.
Instead of apologizing to the farmers for supporting the Farm Ordinances all through and backing the BJP-led union government to the hilt on the issue, the unprincipled Badal couple were trying desperately to shift focus away from their own failure to protect the interests of the farming community and Punjab despite being a part of the NDA, Captain Amarinder said.
Punjab’s farmers, he said, had hoped that having quit the NDA, the Badals would now support the state government wholeheartedly in fighting for their rights. Any party worth its salt would have risen above petty politics to join hands with the state government in putting up a united fight at this important juncture, when the future of Punjab was at risk, he said.
But far from doing that, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had chosen to launch a frontal attack on his government, said Captain Amarinder, adding that this was so clearly a brazen attempt to get back their political foothold in the state that even the most apolitical of Punjabis would see through it.
Right from Harsimrat’s resignation on the eve of voting in Parliament on the unconstitutional Farm Bills, to the late-night drama of pulling SAD out of NDA, and their reprehensible attempt to hijack the Punjab farmers’ Bandh, it was the Badals whose `nautanki’ had made them a public spectacle all through, said the Chief Minister.
Captain Amarinder trashed as farcical Sukhbir’s statement that “the SAD cannot be a mute witness while the peasantry in the country , especially in Punjab, is being dealt a death blow.” Had the SAD not been a mute spectator to the Farm Ordinances in the first place, things would not have come to such a pass, he quipped. “Did you not remember then that Agriculture is a state subject, which you are now crying yourself hoarse about?” he asked the Akali president.
The Chief Minister also ridiculed Sukhbir’s demand for a special session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and his offer of unconditional support to the state government for repeal of the APMC Act. “Where were your MLAs when the Vidhan Sabha session to pass a resolution against the Farm Bills was convened? Why did you not extend unconditional support to us at the all-party meeting to discuss the issue?” he asked the SAD president.
These double standards have made the Badals the laughing stock not just in Punjab but across the country, the Chief Minister said, adding that no amount of theatrics and antics will help the SAD gain the trust of the people.
The Chief Minister questioned the Akali chief’s demand for Ordinance to bypass the central laws when he (Captain Amarinder) had already announced that his government was exploring all options, including amendment to state laws, to protect the farmers. “It seems Sukhbir wants the state government to push through new laws/amendments without taking legal opinion so that they fail judicial scrutiny later,” he quipped, adding that the only agenda of the Badals at the moment seems to be to undermine the state government, by hook or by crook, irrespective of the problems that might cause for Punjab.