Chandigarh, October 9: Challenging Sukhbir Badal’s moral right to question him or his government on the Farm Laws, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday asked the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president to first answer three key questions on the issue, even as he lashed out at the latter for trying to hijack the farmers’ agitation to push his own party’s agenda.
The Chief Minister said that Sukhbir should refrain from commenting on the black farm laws till he gives satisfactory answers to three vital questions, the answers to which every single farmer of Punjab wanted to know.
“Why did Harsimrat Kaur Badal not oppose the Farm Ordinances when they were first approved by the Union Cabinet, of which she was then a member? Why did Sukhbir not support the state government at the all-party meeting he (Captain Amarinder) had convened to evolve a consensus against the blatantly anti-farmer legislations? Why did the Akalis boycott the Vidhan Sabha session in which the other parties (barring BJP) had voted in favour of the resolution on the agricultural laws?”
Captain Amarinder said he had been asking these questions of Sukhbir and Harsimrat for the past several weeks but the Akali leaders had been persistently ignoring them. It was clear the duo had no justification for their actions, which had brought the situation to such a pass, where the very survival of the farmers was at stake, he added.
Reacting to Sukhbir’s so-called request to the Prime Minister to talk to farmer organisations and to listen to the voice of the people, the Chief Minister asked why he did not remind the PM of his responsibility towards farmers all those years he was colluding with the BJP to ruin the farming community. “And what about your own responsibility? Or are you admitting that you never had any sense of duty towards the people of Punjab, especially the farmers,” Captain Amarinder asked Sukhbir.
On Sukhbir’s talk about forming a national pro-farmer front with “like-minded parties”, the Chief Minister quipped that the SAD had ostensibly already quit the coalition of `like-minded parties’, whose only common interest was to ruin agriculture and appease the corporate honchos who were controlling them. Had he any interest in the welfare of the farmers, he would have come supported the Punjab government’s battle against the agricultural laws of the Union Government.
Lashing out at the Akali leadership for indulging in double-speak and falsehoods in the desperate hope of misleading the farmers, the Chief Minister said neither the farmers nor other sections of Punjab would be taken in by these tactics of the Badals. Having actively partnered the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA government in selling off the interests of the farmers to the corporate houses of the Adanis and the Ambanis, the Badals were now looking for ways to cover up their crimes of omission and commission, he added. Sukhbir’s latest submissions to the Prime Minister were in line with that strategy, said Captain Amarinder.
The Chief Minister said the fact was that having lost their face and political standing completely among the farmers of Punjab, the Akalis were now grasping at straws to brazen their way out of their sins.
These antics won’t work, warned Captain Amarinder, adding that if Sukhbir had any shame left, he should plead guilty to his anti-farmer and anti-Punjab actions and try to make amends instead of wasting his time attacking the state government. “You did not back us when you should have, leading to the situation aggravating to this extent. The least you can do now is stop trying to underline our efforts and to take over the farmers’ protest to further their political interests,” he added.