Terming the President’s assent to the Farm Bills as unfortunate and distressing, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday said his government is exploring all options, including possible amendments to the state laws, to protect the interests of the farmers.
All farmer organisations and other stakeholders would be taken into confidence before taking any decision on the way forward, the Chief Minister said, adding that the state government was committed to the procurement of every single grain of the farmers without compromising on the pricing. His government was already in consultation with legal and agricultural experts, and all those impacted by the Central Government’s calamitous legislations, to decide on the future course of action, he said.
Besides legal recourse, his government was looking at other options to scuttle the Centre’s new Agriculture laws that are designed to ruin Punjab’s farmers and economy, said the Chief Minister, who is scheduled to sit on dharna against the draconian legislations on Monday at Khatkar Kalan, SBS Nagar, after paying tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh at the Samadhi Sthal of the martyr.
The Chief Minister expressed disappointment and anguish over the decision of President Ram Nath Kovind to give the nod to the three unconstitutional and anti-farmer Agriculture Bills, without giving the Congress and other Opposition parties the opportunity to put their concerns before the Parliament. The President’s assent had come as a big blow to the farmers, who are out on the roads protesting against the Centre’s assault on their interests, he said.
Implementation of these dangerous new laws in their current form would destroy Punjab’s agriculture – the lifeline of its economy, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the very livelihood of farmers was at stake due to these legislations, which the Government of India had succeeded in imposing on the states and the farming community by brute majority.
The exclusion of MSP from the legislations had raised serious concerns about the intent of the BJP-led Union Government, which had triggered the widespread unrest among the farmers and prompted the Congress to take the lead in aggressively opposing the central laws, the Chief Minister said. The state of Punjab, which would be the worst affected by these treacherous laws, would take this fight forward with all its might, said Captain Amarinder, vowing not to give up till the farmers get back their due rights.
Captain Amarinder also reacted strongly to Akali chief Sukhbir Singh Badal’s response to the Presidential assent, terming it a cruel joke on the farmers since it was the Shiromani Akali Dal’s active support to the Farm Ordinances that had brought things to such a pass. Even now, after the farce of his party’s break-up with the NDA, all Sukhbir seemed concerned about was not the farmers’ plight but exploitation of the issue to boost the Akali prospects in the next State Assembly polls, he added.
The fact that Sukhbir and Harsimrat Badal’s entire efforts was aimed at attacking him (Captain Amarinder) personally and his government showed how desperate they were to transform this serious issue of national repercussions into a local issue for Punjab, the Chief Minister noted. The dark day for democracy, as Sukhbir is now calling it, was a gift of the Badals to Punjab and its farmers, just like the plethora of other gifts they have given to the state over the years, including sacrilege and false cases, economic devastation, massive debts, among others, he quipped.