Chandigarh, Oct 9 (IANS) Challenging Sukhbir Badal’s moral right to question him or his government on the farm laws, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday asked the Shiromani Akali Dal President to first answer three key questions on the issue.
Hitting out against Badal for trying to hijack the farmers’ agitation to push his own party’s agenda, Amarinder Singh said that he should refrain from commenting on the ‘black’ farm laws till he gives satisfactory answers to these three vital questions, the answers to which every single farmer of Punjab wanted to know.
“Why did Harsimrat Kaur Badal not oppose the farm ordinances when they were first approved by the Union Cabinet, of which she was then a member? Why did Sukhbir not support the state government at the all-party meeting I had convened to evolve a consensus against the blatantly anti-farmer legislations?
“Why did the Akalis boycott the Vidhan Sabha session in which the other parties (barring the BJP) had voted in favour of the resolution on the agricultural laws?” he said, adding that he had been asking these questions from both the Badals for the past several weeks but the Akali leaders had been persistently ignoring them.
It was clear the duo had no justification for their actions, which had brought the situation to such a pass, where the very survival of the farmers was at stake, he said.
Reacting to Sukhbir Badal’s request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to talk to farmer organisations and to listen to the voice of the people, the Chief Minister asked why he did not remind the PM of his responsibility towards farmers “all those years he was colluding with the BJP to ruin the farming community”.
“And what about your own responsibility? Or are you admitting that you never had any sense of duty towards the people of Punjab, especially the farmers,” Amarinder Singh asked Sukhbir Badal.
On the Akali Dal chief’s plan for forming a national pro-farmer front with “like-minded parties”, the Chief Minister quipped that the SAD had ostensibly already quit the coalition of “like-minded parties”, whose only common interest was to ruin agriculture and appease the corporate honchos who were controlling them.
Had he any interest in the welfare of the farmers, he would have come and supported the Punjab government’s battle against the agricultural laws of the Union Government, he said.
Lashing out at the Akali leadership for “indulging in double-speak and falsehoods in the desperate hope of misleading the farmers”, the Chief Minister said neither the farmers nor other sections of Punjab would be taken in by these tactics of the Badals.
Having actively partnered the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA government in selling off the interests of the farmers to the corporate houses, the Badals were now looking for ways to cover up their crimes of omission and commission, he added.