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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh warns Centre of repercussions of farmers’ agitation in Punjab

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh addressing dharna against farmers bill at Jantar mantar on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said “no ruler should meddle in religious and livelihood issues” and warned the Centre about the repercussions of agitations by farmers against the Centre’s new farm laws in a border State like Punjab.

Also read: The Hindu Explains | Who gains and who loses from the farm Bills?

Capt. Singh, who launched a mission from Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial at Rajghat in Delhi to ‘save’ the farmers, accused Pakistan of daily trying to create trouble and its possible collusion with China.

He, along with MLAs and MPs from the State sat on a dharna at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to protest against the Centre’s “step-motherly” treatment against Punjab. Though the protests were originally planned at Rajghat, the venue was shifted as the police did not give permission.

Denied appointment

The Chief Minister, who was denied an appointment with President Ram Nath Kovind, hit out at Punjab Governor V.P. Badnore for sitting on the Bills passed by the Punjab Assembly, seeking to negate the three Central laws regarding agricultural produce and marketing.

Comment | Will the farm bills benefit farmers?

“The Governor has no role to play in this, he should have sent the Bills to the President by now, he is a mere post box in such matters, so why has he not forwarded the Bills till now?”he asked.

Capt. Singh, however, clarified that he did not seek appointment of the President over the law passed by the Assembly but to brief Mr. Kovind about the situation in Punjab.

“He is our President, the head of our state, our country. I wanted to see him and it is my duty to brief him about the national security and food security situation in Punjab,” the Chief Minister said, adding he hoped that the President would give his assent to the Punjab Bills like former President Pranab Mukherjee, who had assented the Bills passed by BJP-ruled States under Article 254 (II).

Drones with weapons

Talking about the security aspect, he said, “Pakistan is daily trying to create trouble by sending in one or two drones with weapons ... I know what Pakistan is up to as I am the Home Minister of the State.”

Ground Zero | Farm Bills leave farmers, commission agents and workers worried

Capt. Singh also denied that train services were blocked by farmers right now, except to two private power plants, and asked the Railways to resume train services as the supply of essentials was being affected not just in Punjab but also in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, especially for troops stationed in Ladakh.

Coal shortage

He said Punjab was facing a shortage of coal for its power plants, fertilizers and pacakaging material for its food grains because of the stoppage of movement of trains. Slamming the Centre for trying to destroy an established system of marketing of food produce through the network of farmers and Arhityas (traders), Capt. Singh asserted that the current system contributed 40% to the national food pool despite Punjab having only 1.57% of India’s population.

Former Punjab Minister, Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had resigned from the Cabinet because of his differences with the Chief Minister, also took part and accused the Centre of an ‘economic blockade’ by stopping trains. Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari urged the Centre to act responsibly as Punjab was a border State.

After the dharna, during an informal media interaction, the Chief Minister questioned the timing of the various notices issued by the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department to him and his family members and said all of them were initiated after the Punjab Assembly passed laws to negate the Central farm laws.

 

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 3:34:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-cm-stages-dharna-in-delhi-alleges-step-motherly-treatment-by-centre/article33021109.ece

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