Ridiculing Sukhbir Badal’s suggestion that he should go on fast-unto-death to secure justice for the farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said as a soldier he knew how to fight for his people and did not need any advice from the Akali leader on protecting the interests of the farmers.
“I have fought at the border for my country during the 1965 war. I did not think twice about going back to the Army when the war broke out after I had resigned. I have braved enemy bullets to keep my people safe and secure. What have you ever done for the people of Punjab or this country?” the Chief Minister asked Sukhbir in a hard-hitting counter to Sukhbir’s statement on the MLAs’ dharna in Delhi today.
“Instead of joining us in taking the farmers’ concerns to the government at the Centre, Sukhbir and his party once again tucked their tail between their legs and holed themselves up in their comfortable corners,” the Chief Minister pointed out. He asked the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president why he did not go on indefinite hunger strike to press the NDA government, of which his party was than a part, not to go ahead with the draconian farm laws that he is not claiming vehemently to be opposed to.
“And now you (Sukhbir) have the gall to tell me what I should or should not do!” remarked Captain Amarinder, adding that if there was a farce it was clearly and brazenly being perpetuated by the Badals, who had for 10 years done nothing but fill their pockets by looting Punjab and its people.
The Chief Minister recalled that on the issue of SYL, he had not just quit as MP but had vowed not to give up a drop of water even if it meant giving up his life. And that was not the first time he had taken such a stand, having resigned in the 80s as MP after Operation Bluestar and as a minister from the SS Barnala government in the state in the wake of Operation Black Thunder, he pointed out.
Even on these central farm laws, which might not have become a harsh reality had the Badals fought their partners in the NDA on the issue, Captain Amarinder said he had already made it clear on the floor of the state Assembly that he will fight for the rights of the farmers till his last breath.
“I do not remember you or any of your party leaders ever being ready to make any sacrifice for the famers or any other section of our people,” the Chief Minister pointed out to Sukhbir, adding that, on the contrary, the Akalis had been responsible, time and again, for pawning off the rights of Punjab’s citizens for their own personal gains. He dared the SAD chief to cite a single instance of him or his coterie doing even an iota of good for the state.
Hitting out at Sukhbir for making a mockery of the farmers’ fight for their lives and livelihood, Captain Amarinder said the shocking apathy of the Badals to the concerns of the people of Punjab had hit a new low with their actions and reactions on the Farm Laws issue. He took a dig at the former’s remark on what was the need to meet the President when the Governor had not signed the state amendment Bills, saying the more important question here was “what was the need for Harsimrat Badal to quit the Union Cabinet after the Bills were presented in Parliament by the Centre and what was the need for SAD to break off from the NDA alliance after the legislations were enacted.”
If ever there was any ground for suspecting a friendly match, it was in these actions of the Akalis, which clearly showed that the entire drama was enacted by them in collusion with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to mislead the farmers, Captain Amarinder added.