Opposition calls Punjab CM's move to lead 'dharna' in Delhi as 'drama, photo op'

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Chandigarh, Nov 3 (PTI) Punjab opposition parties SAD, BJP and AAP on Tuesday dubbed the decision of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to lead a relay 'dharna' in Delhi as “drama and photo op”.

Earlier in the day, Amarinder said he will lead a relay 'dharna' of Congress MLAs at Delhi's Rajghat on Wednesday following President Ram Nath Kovind's refusal to meet a delegation led by him over the Centre's farm laws.

The CM also said the protest in Delhi will also highlight the power crisis and scarcity of essential supplies in the state due to the suspension of goods trains by the Centre.

Reacting to the CM's decision, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal, in a statement, asked Amarinder not to indulge in “sham” relay 'dharnas' in Delhi but start an indefinite hunger strike at Rajghat to demand immediate repeal of the central agriculture laws.

Asking the CM if he was really serious about the protest or was just playing to the gallery, the SAD chief said “if the purpose is to demand repeal of the agriculture laws and ensuring assured government purchase of food grains as per minimum support price (MSP), then the chief minister should lead an indefinite hunger strike and not give in till the demands of the farming community are accepted in toto”.

Stating that the chief minister was, however, unlikely to take up this proposal as he did not want to take up cudgels against the BJP-led central government, Sukhbir said “this is the reason why Amarinder Singh is indulging in one 'tamasha' after another instead of doing anything concrete to find a solution to the ongoing crisis being faced by the farming community as well as trade and industry.” Instead of approaching the Centre and demanding the immediate restart of goods trains to Punjab, the CM wants to waste time in photo ops, he claimed.

The SAD chief also asked the chief minister why he had “misled” the legislators and unilaterally announced the November 4 appointment with the President when the latter had not even given the same.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab unit chief and MP Bhagwant Mann said the CM was, instead of going to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issues of “black laws”, heading to Rajghat for “enacting another drama” in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue to “mislead” the people of Punjab, especially the farmers, saying it was a “well thought-out ploy to derail the peasant struggle.” He also dubbed the CM as a “great dramatist”.

BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh alleged that the CM was responsible for “creating anarchic situation” in the state by “fomenting discontent” among farmers and “misleading” them on the facts of the three agriculture bills.

While condemning the decision of a relay 'dharna' in Delhi, Chugh said the CM was leading the state to “anarchy by subverting” the democratic norms. PTI CHS VSD HDA