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On day 1 of special session on farm bill, Punjab House sees protests

Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, along with the other members, pays homage to farmers who lost their lives during the ongoing agitation over new farm laws, on the first day of a special session of the State Assembly, in Chandigarh on October 19, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

On the first day of a special session of the Punjab Assembly, convened to bring in a law by the State to nullify the Centre’s three farm sector laws, MLAs of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress on Monday arrived on tractors to register their protest against the legislations and extend their support to the ongoing farmers’ protest. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members came wearing ‘black robes’ to express their ‘anguish’ against the laws.

Also read: More than half of farmers oppose farm laws: survey

SAD and the AAP members also staged a protest outside the Assembly against the ruling Congress government, accusing it of maintaining ‘secrecy’ over the Bill to be brought in the Assembly by not sharing it with Opposition members. AAP MLAs, led by leader of the Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema, burnt copies of the Union laws outside the Assembly complex.

The House proceedings began with members paying homage to all the farmers who lost their lives in the ongoing agitation against the agriculture laws. The Assembly also paid respects to the deceased freedom fighters, political and other eminent personalities, as well as soldiers during the obituary references and it was adjourned for an hour.

After its resumption, SAD MLAs demanded that no other business other than a discussion on the farmers’ issues should be held. AAP members demanded a copy of the proposed legislation that the government intends to bring in. Amid the ruckus, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.

Also read: Punjab BJP leader quits over farm laws

‘Sit-in’ inside House

After this, AAP MLAs staged a ‘sit-in’ inside the House, demanding copies of the proposed Bill.

Mr. Cheema said the State government was not at all serious about the issues and concerns of farmers. “A draft copy of the controversial legislation has not been made available at the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting. We will continue with our sit-in until copies are provided to us,” he asserted.

Akali Dal MLAs also staged a sit-in outside Punjab Bhawan, which had been declared as an extension of the Assembly for the ongoing session, alleging they were not allowed inside to interact with the media that had been asked to cover the Vidhan Sabha proceedings while stationed there.

Also read: Congress to hold protests against Farm Act

Senior party leader Bikram Singh Majithia alleged that the proposed Bill/s were not being made public because they were being finalised as per the directions of the Central government. “It’s a fixed match between the Congress and the BJP governments at Centre. The Congress government is gearing up to betray Punjabis as it did in the case of the river waters termination Act in 2004, which allowed continuous flow of river waters to Haryana and Rajasthan,” he added.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 2:47:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-house-special-session-begins-farm-bill-likely-to-be-tabled-tomorrow/article32891300.ece

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