Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday said Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh should declare the entire state as one “mandi" (principal market yard) for agriculture produce so that the farmers’ bills do not apply in the state.
SAD held protests across Punjab as part of its “chakka jam" programme to express solidarity with farmers and the asked Chief Minister to call an immediate Cabinet meeting over the agriculture Bills.
Speaking at a protest meeting at Lambi village after leading a tractor rally from Badal village, SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal said the government should also hold a special session of the Assembly to ratify the ordinance. “I have moved this proposal two days back. The government should move quickly on this to save the future of our coming generations," he told the media.
The SAD chief also accused the Chief Minister of shedding crocodile tears for the welfare of the farmers.
Badal said the Chief Minister had amended the state APMC Act as per his party’s election manifesto and ratified private mandis, contract farming and e-trading. “We want the Congress government to call a special Assembly session to revoke this amendment," he said.
He also announced that in case the Congress government did not take these measures, SAD would do so once it came to power in the state.
Speaking on the occasion, former Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said she had done her duty as a daughter of Punjab and accused Singh of ‘back-stabbing the farmers.’
“The Chief Minister knew since August last year that the ordinances were in the offing. There is concrete proof of the same in the form of a letter received by his government but he chose to remain silent instead of protesting against the move.
“I on the other hand resigned from the ministry when I realised the misgivings of the farmers were not being addressed. If Amarinder Singh is so concerned about farmers he should also resign his post," she added.
Addressing farmers at a protest meeting in Amritsar, former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said if the farmers are destroyed, the entire state would be destroyed as well. He said while the SAD had fulfilled its responsibility towards the farmers, the Congress party was playing a double game.
“The Congress is trying to paint itself as pro-farmers when the truth is that the Congress government in Punjab amended the state APMC Act to ensure the entry of corporates," he added.