SAD chief Sukhbir Badal seeks President's intervention in convening Winter Session of Parliament

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Chandigarh, Dec 18 (PTI) Shiromani Akali Dal on Friday sought President Ram Nath Kovind's intervention in convening the Winter Session of Parliament at the earliest, saying its cancellation on the excuse of COVID-19 was 'indigestible' as the three farm laws were passed when the pandemic was at its peak.

In his letter to the President, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said Parliament must meet immediately as 'a national priority' as the ongoing farmers' movement affects nearly 100 crore of our people directly and the rest indirectly going by the percentage of the country's population dependent on agriculture.

Describing the government's attitude as a case of 'historic blunder', Badal said 'the ruling party's stubborn-ness to listen to the country's 'annadata' and to let them die within a few hundred yards of Parliament would be remembered in history as a case of a heartless and conscience-less government at war with its own people.' 'The SAD president who, as Member of the Parliament, had voted against the three controversial farm Bills, on Friday wrote to the President,' a party statement said here.

Sukhbir wrote, 'The government's excuse of the COVID-19 argument to justify the cancellation of Parliament's Winter Session is indigestible'. How do you convince the people that Parliament could meet to pass the three controversial Bills 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, 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 the government wants the countrymen to believe that even a limited meeting of Members of Parliament under strict SOPs would result in a pandemic flare up? There is no lockdown on BJP rallies but there is lockdown on Parliament comprising just a few hundred members, and that too under controlled circumstances. The COVID excuse is patently fake and even ridiculous,' he wrote.

Badal said the government 'is making a laughing stock of itself. But the tragedy is ultimately the joke is on our poor people and on our sacred democratic traditions'.

Badal said 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' (farmer) to go back to their homes feeling secure about their future?' Badal said Parliament must meet immediately as 'a national priority' as the ongoing farmers' movement affects nearly 100 crores of our people directly and the rest indirectly going by the percentage of the country's population dependent on agriculture. Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and elsewhere are protesting near Delhi's borders for over three weeks now demanding repeal of the Centre's new farm laws. PTI SUN VSD TDS TDS