Chandigarh, Sep 13 (PTI) A day after the SAD's “climb-down” on the issue of farm ordinances, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday dared opposition party chief, Sukhbir Singh Badal, to quit the BJP-led Centre to prove his party's sincerity in the matter.
He also termed Badal's sudden “U-turn” on the farm ordinances as a “cheap gimmick to hoodwink the farming community”.
The SAD on Saturday had appealed to the BJP-led Centre not to enact laws on the three farm ordinances until “all reservations” expressed by farmers are “duly addressed.” The SAD’s appeal to the Union government for not tabling the ordinances in Parliament came even as the party had consistently maintained that the Centre had assured that these ordinances would have no bearing on the existing crop procurement policy.
The CM on Sunday said as a member of the ruling alliance at the Centre, the Shiromani Akali Dal was party to the ordinances and had supported them unconditionally.
In a statement here, Singh slammed Badal 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 seeks to enact laws on them.
He also termed as “total hogwash” the SAD's so-called appeal to the Union government not to present the three ordinances for approval in Parliament until all reservations expressed by farmer organisations were addressed.
The CM recalled Badal's assertion during an all-party meet convened by him on the issue in June that the central government had assured the SAD that there would be no tinkering with the minimum support price.
It is more than obvious now that the SAD president had “lied” then in a deliberate bid to “mislead” farmers, he said, adding given his track record, nothing that Badal was saying now on the issue could be believed.
The “double standards” of the Akalis have become a rule rather than the exception, said the CM, pointing to SAD's stance on the Citizenship Amendment Act, 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.
Singh 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 farmers' organisations with an eye on the Punjab assembly elections, which were just about 18 months away.
After “compromising” the farmers’ interests “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 Badal.
Many farmers' outfits have been holding protests against the three farm ordinances promulgated by the Centre.
Farmers have expressed apprehension that the three ordinances would pave the way for dismantling of the MSP system and they would be at the “mercy” of big corporates. They have been demanding rollback of these ordinances.
The ordinances are the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX