Both Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday termed the absence of any Union minister from the Centre's meeting with farmers to discuss the farm laws as an insult to peasants. The two Punjab leaders made the remarks shortly after several representatives of various farmers' bodies, miffed over the absence of any Union minister in the meeting, walked out of the Krishi Bhawan in Delhi, raising anti-government slogans and tearing copies of the farm laws.
For the absence of any minister in the meeting, Chief Minister Singh accused the Centre of adding salt to farmers' wounds and harbouring malice and ill-intent towards them, while Badal said the absence was aimed at insulting farmers' intelligence and people of Punjab. Shocked by the humiliating treatment meted out to farmers by @BJP4India govt at Centre. GoI has added salt to the wounds of the farmers by sending a bureaucrat to meet them, said the chief minister in a tweet.
Don't our farmers deserve even the courtesy of @AgriGoI minister meeting them personally? he asked further. On one hand, @BJP4India claims to be going all out to convince farmers of the benefits of #FarmLaws and on the other, when farmers accept GoI's invite for the meet, they are treated so badly. This has totally exposed their malice & ill-intent towards farmers, Singh added in his tweet.
After the devastating #FarmLaws, the least GoI could have done was to empathise with farmers and share their pain. Instead, they chose to insult the Kisan unions. After today's fiasco, can @BJP4India ever expect farmers to trust them? he asked. Shiromani Akali Dal chief Badal too echoed and endorsed the views of his arch rival in Punjab and condemned the Centre for deputing a junior officer to talk to farmers on the three central laws on the farming sector.
I strongly condemn the government of India's method of first inviting farmers for a meeting and deputing a junior officer rather than a minister or Prime Minister to meet them. Basically, it is like insulting those farmers' intelligence and people of Punjab. This should not have been done, said Badal, who has snapped his party's ties with the NDA over the farm laws. Badal said the BJP-led government was repeating the blunders of the past Congress rulers in Punjab and was resorting to the same anti-Punjab and anti-farmer conspiracies to provoke farmers and youth. This can have serious consequences for peace in the sensitive border state of Punjab as well as for the stability in the country since farmers' struggle is a national issue, said Badal, virtually echoing what Chief Minister Singh has often reiterated.
The Akali leader said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have found time to meet the 'annadata' (farmers) of the country instead of sending faceless bureaucrat to preach them. If the PM was too busy on this day, the meeting could have been easily rescheduled. The farmers did the right thing by coming out and refusing to walk into the conspiracy, said Badal. He demanded that the black laws must be scrapped. Congress MP Partap Singh Bajwa too supported the farmer leaders' decision to walk out of the meeting.
The fact that the minister of agriculture did not attend the meeting, despite the farmer unions putting in efforts to reach out is absolutely unacceptable. This lack of respect shown to the leaders of the Kisan jathebandis is a clear indication of where the government stands on this issue, said Bajwa. meet with the kisan leaders, the minister of agriculture has further eroded the trust between farmers and the government, said Bajwa in a statement here.
Farmers in Punjab have been demanding the repeal of three farm-sector laws that, the government has been insisting, would increase farmers' income but the peasants fear that the new laws are the precursor to dismantling the MSP system.