'Will Fight Against Farm Laws on All Fronts': Punjab CM Amarinder Singh to Farmer Unions

File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh

File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh

Singh said the Punjab government stands in full support of the farmers in these “dark and difficult times”.

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday extended his support to farmers agitating against the “draconian” farm laws, saying he will convene a special session of the assembly if there is a need to amend the state laws. Chairing a meeting with the representatives of 31 farmers’ unions, he said his government stands behind the farmers in these “dark and difficult times” and he would discuss with his legal team the steps to challenge the farm laws in the Supreme Court.

Besides farmer representatives, All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat, state ministers, state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar and the state’s Advocate General Atul Nanda attended the meeting, an official statement said. After the meeting, the chief minister convened another meeting with top government officials. The statement said he sought suggestions from legal experts on the next course of action to protect the interests of farmers against the Centre’s farm laws.

He asked Nanda to collate and consider all such suggestions. The suggestions given by leaders of various Kisan Unions were also discussed during the second meeting. “We will take all possible steps to counter the Union government’s assault on the state’s federal and constitutional rights and fight for the interests of the farmers,” Singh told the farmer representatives.

“If legal experts advise amendment to state laws to fight the central laws, a special session of the assembly will be immediately convened to do so,” he added. Dubbing the three pieces of farm legislation “anti-farmers”, peasants in Punjab have been protesting against the new laws meant to deregulate the sale of their crops. Their main demands include giving a legal backing to the MSP mechanism.

The central government has assured that the MSP regime will continue as before. Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) leader B S Rajewal said farmers will intensify their protest from October 1 and extend the ‘rail roko’ agitation, which was to end on October 2, indefinitely.

Rajewal said farmers will socially boycott political leaders supporting the laws. “We will stage dharnas outside residences of BJP leaders in the state,” he said.

Jagmohan Singh, the general secretary of BKU (Dakaunda), said resolutions will be passed in village gram panchayats against the farm laws. During the meeting with farmer representatives, the Punjab chief minister claimed that enacting the farm laws amounted to “violation” of the Constitution and an attack on the federal structure. He said his government will do “whatever it takes to scuttle” the Centre’s attempt to “ruin the farming community with these draconian” laws.

The battle will be fought on all fronts, he said. He reiterated that his government and the Punjab Congress are with farmers.

“If the new laws are implemented, it will spell the end of agriculture,” he said, warning that the Union government will follow up these laws with “elimination of MSP and FCI, bringing an end to the time-tested farming procurement and marketing system as we know it”. Singh said he had written to the prime minister thrice, urging him not to go ahead with the farm bills but he did not get any response.

Several farmer leaders have urged Singh to challenge the central laws legally. Jagjit Singh Dallewal of BKU, Sidhupur, urged him to convene a special session of the assembly to pass a law to counter the central legislations.

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