Dubbing the SAD chief’s sudden U-turn on the farm ordinances as a cheap gimmick to hoodwink the farming community, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday challenged Sukhbir Badal to quit the BJP-led central government to prove his party’s sincerity in the matter.
Pointing out that, as a member of the ruling alliance at the Centre, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was party to the Ordinances and had supported them unconditionally, the Chief Minister slammed Sukhbir over his party’s brazen double standards on the issue and asked if the Akali leader was ready to vote against the Ordinances in Parliament as and when the central government puts them to vote.
The Chief Minister termed as total hogwash the SAD’s so-called appeal to the union government not to present the three central agricultural ordinances for approval in Parliament until all reservations expressed by farmer organisations were addressed.
The Chief Minister recalled Sukhbir’s assertion, during the all-party convened by him (Captain Amarinder) on the issue in June, that the central government had assured SAD that there would be no tinkering of the MSP. It is more than obvious now that the SAD president had lied then in a deliberate bid to mislead the farmers, he said, adding that given his track record, nothing that Sukhbir was saying now on the issue could be believed or trusted in.
The double standards of the Akalis have become a rule rather than the exception, said the Chief Minister, pointing to SAD’s stance on CAA/NCR, among other major issues concerning the state. “What were they doing when the Ordinances were being brought in? Why did they not object? After all, they are part of the central government responsible for these Ordinances?” he asked.
The Chief Minister said the SAD’s sudden decision to urge the Centre ‘not to rush through the Ordinances’ reflected their desperation to get back into the good books of the farmers unions/organisations with an eye on the Punjab Assembly elections, which were just about 18 months away. After compromising the interests of the farmers so brazenly, the Akalis were now trying to cover up their catastrophic blunder with their latest tactic, he said, adding that the people of Punjab, including the farmers, knew better than to trust Sukhbir.
Captain Amarinder trashed as completely fraudulent Sukhbir’s statement that SAD would hold talks in the coming days with `like-minded parties’ on the issue. “The like-minded parties, including the Congress, had rejected outright the Ordinances in June during the all-party meeting. What were they doing then? Why did they not support our stand then?” he asked.
The Chief Minister also ridiculed the SAD decision on sending a delegation led by Sukhbir to meet the central government to discuss the concern of the farmers. The decision to approach the Centre had been taken by the all-party in June itself, he pointed out, questioning the Akalis’ belated move in this regard.
The SAD’s claims of being ready to make any sacrifice to safeguard the interests of the farmers were completely humbug, said Captain Amarinder, calling upon Sukhbir to stop trying to befool the people of Punjab with his dirty games. “Your wife is a union minister. Has she, even once, spoken for the farmers in the cabinet?” he asked Sukhbir, adding that, on the contrary, the presence of the Akalis in the union cabinet had ensured that the Congressr-ruled Punjab continues to get stepmotherly treatment from the central government.