Chandigarh, Sep 15 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the introduction of farm bills in Parliament by the Centre had 'totally exposed' the Shiromani Akali Dal's 'pretence' of protecting the interests of farmers of the state.
With the BJP-led NDA government going ahead with laying the bills on the table of the House on the very first day of Parliament session on Monday, instead of accepting SAD's 'so-called plea' to defer the same, the Akali 'charade' on the issue had been laid bare, the chief minister said.
Last week, the Akalis had appealed to the BJP-led Centre not to present three farm ordinances for approval in Parliament until 'all reservations' expressed by farmers are 'duly addressed'.
The fact that Sukhbir Singh Badal had stayed away from the House on Monday, when the ordinances were presented for legislation, showed that the 'entire drama” of seeking postponement of their enactment was played out by the SAD president to 'appease' the farmers' organisations, which have been up in arms against the ordinances, Amarinder Singh claimed.
There is clearly a 'conspiracy' to undermine the farmers' interests and that of the states, which are constitutionally mandated to be responsible for agriculture, the CM said.
'Why else would Sukhbir conveniently remain away from Parliament on the opening day itself?' he asked.
The SAD president knew all along that the ordinances, which had the 'explicit stamp' of Akali approval, would be brought to the House for legislation, he added.
'This is what the Akalis had done in the Vidhan Sabha during session too,' he pointed out, adding that even then the SAD had chosen not to attend the proceedings to avoid having to vote the anti-ordinances resolution.
Singh alleged that the SAD, which had 'endorsed the anti-farmer and anti-federal' ordinances as part of the ruling coalition at the Centre, was now indulging in the 'drama' of seeking clarifications and amendments for the consumption of the farmer organisations and unions.
'You think the people of Punjab, and the farmers, are fools? They are not going to be taken in by your theatrics and pretensions of shedding crocodile tears,' the chief minister told Badal.
These 'pathetic' attempts to woo the farmer vote-bank ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections would backfire on the Akalis, as they had done in 2017, he added.
'You cannot take a U-turn and change your stance on every major issue of Punjab's interest as an after-thought and expect people to believe that you are sincere,' Singh said.
Meanwhile, the chief minister has ridiculed the statements of Harpal Singh Cheema and Aman Arora alleging Congress-SAD/BJP connivance in the farm ordinances, asking the AAP leaders to check their facts before 'shooting their mouths off'. PTI CHS VSD SNE