Chandigarh [India] December 18 (ANI): Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday called upon President Ram Nath Kovind and urged his intervention to immediately convene the winter session of the Parliament.
Member of Parliament from Punjab's Ferozepur district, Badal, wrote to the President saying that the excuse of the COVID-19 to justify the cancellation of the Parliament's winter session simply does not wash. "How do you convince the people that the Parliament could meet to pass the three controversial farm laws at a time when the pandemic was at its peak, which required the Prime Minister to start the nation's fight against it with a long, countrywide lockdown. Now, by the government's own admission, the intensity of the pandemic no longer requires a lockdown. Then, how does one justify the cancellation of the winter session? What was right then cannot be wrong now?"
In his letter to the President, copies of which have been marked to the speaker of Lok Sabha and to the vice-president of India in his capacity as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the Akali leader said it is absurd and ironical that the ruling party sees no danger to public health during gatherings of thousands of people in its election rallies in Bihar and now in West Bengal but wants the countrymen to believe that even a limited meeting of the Members of Parliament under strict standard operating procedure would result in a pandemic flare-up. "There is no lockdown on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rallies but there is a lockdown on Parliament comprising just a few hundred members, and that too under controlled circumstances. The COVID excuse is patently fake and even ridiculous."
Badal said that the government "is making a laughing stock of itself". "But the tragedy is that ultimately the joke is on our poor people and on our sacred democratic traditions," said the SAD president.
He added that even if the pandemic excuse were to be accepted, the obvious question still remains -- "Are our lives more important than the lives of the millions and millions of people whom we represent and who trusted their destiny and lives in our hands at the elections. Are we going to betray that innocent trust because we are scared of meeting to help these patriotic annadatas (food growers) to go back to their homes feeling secure about their future?"
Describing the government's attitude as a case of "historic blunder," Badal said the ruling party's "stubbornness to listen to the country's annadata and to let them die within a few hundred yards of the Parliament would be remembered in history as a case of a heartless and conscience-less government at war with its own people."
Badal added the Parliament must meet immediately as "a national priority", the ongoing farmers' movement affects nearly 100 crore people directly and the rest indirectly going by the percentage of the country's population dependent on agriculture.
He said that "it would be insensitivity of the most shocking nature if the government just looks the other way while nearly two dozen innocent and patriotic annadatas have already sacrificed their lives - many of them in the prime of their youth."
"It's true that the government has the might of the state at its back. But the peace-loving and innocent farmers are armed with the righteousness of their cause. Their righteousness, their innocence, their humility and their love for their country and countrymen are their greatest defence. The might and the arrogance of the state cannot defeat that," said Badal.
"The Shiromani Akali Dal is honour-bound to wage this struggle on the side of the farmers' just and moral cause," said Badal in an emotional appeal to the President. (ANI)