Ridiculing the public spectacle of the mutual blame-game between old allies SAD and BJP, who have been trading charges against each other over the controversial Farm Bills, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday said the adamant refusal of the Akalis to quit the NDA coalition showed the extent of their greed and desperation to cling to power.
The fact that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is holding on to the last vestige of power it continues to enjoy at the cost of Punjab and its farmers, despite being publicly humiliated by the alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had exposed the Akali dual standards and total lack of concern for the farming community, said Captain Amarinder. He was referring to BJP’s statement that it had left the task of convincing the famers on the Agriculture Bills to the Akalis.
“Why else are the Akalis still a part of the anti-farmer and anti-people BJP-led Government at the Centre, which had conspired with large corporate houses to deprive the farmers of their livelihood and, in the process, ruin Punjab?” the Chief Minister quipped, adding that the SAD was still trying hard to stay politically afloat by hook or by crook.
After the politically motivated drama of Harsimrat Kaur’s resignation from the Union Cabinet, which she had clearly taken only to save face amid the farmer unrest across Punjab, SAD president Sukhbir Badal was widely expected to pull his party out of the Union Government, but that did not happen, Captain Amarinder pointed out, deriding the Akali leader for his shameful double-speak.
Lambasting the Akalis for actively supporting the Union Government in selling off the farmers’ rights to the monopolistic corporate houses through the unconstitutional and undemocratic Farm Bills, the Chief Minister said SAD had completely lost any political credibility or standing after their antics on the new laws. The Badals will go down in Akali history as the leaders responsible for the party’s destruction, he said.
From the farmers’ resentment against them, to their fallout with the BJP, the Akalis seem to be heading towards total elimination from Punjab’s political arena, said Captain Amarinder, adding that people of the state, especially the farmers, will not forgive the Badals for their deception and dishonesty.
Taking a dig at Sukhbir’s remark that Harsimrat’s resignation from the central cabinet was like ‘an atom bomb that had shaken the Prime Minister’, Captain Amarinder quipped it was not even a damp squib of a fizzled out fire-cracker. The Prime Minister, and his BJP, do not care for the Akalis, as is evident from the former’s criticism of their alliance partner, and also the promptness with which Harsimrat’s resignation was accepted, said the Chief Minister. It seems the BJP wants to go it alone in Punjab Assembly polls, he said, adding that the stage seems set for the NDA to throw out SAD if the latter does not quit the ruling coalition on its own.
The Chief Minister also lashed out at the Akali president’s attempt to take credit for the successful farmers’ agitation and yesterday’s Bharat/Punjab Bandh, terming as atrocious Sukhbir’s reported statement that the SAD had organised the state-wide protests. SAD actually tried to hijack the farmers’ agitation by announcing its state-wide `chakka jam’ much after the farmers had declared the Bandh, he said. This, he added, had not gone down well with the farmers’ organisations, who had outright condemned the Akali actions.