Other States

‘Victory of farmers top priority’

Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu coming out of his residence in Patiala on Saturday.  

Newly appointed Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday said for him the “victory” of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) is the top priority and he will go “barefoot” to meet farmers protesting against the Centre’s farm laws whenever they call him.

Farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders since late November, demanding the repeal of the laws.

“I consider the victory of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha as my top priority. I have been calling the farmers’ agitation as sacred for the past one year,” Mr. Sidhu told reporters at Chamkaur Sahib, where he got a rousing reception from party workers, a day after taking charge as the State Congress chief.

Party supporters showered flower petals on Mr. Sidhu as his cavalcade passed through various places. The cricketer-turned-politician also visited various religious places. Later, he told reporters at Morinda that he wants to ask the protesting farmers how can the State government assist them in their cause.

“I want to ask them how our government’s power can help them in a big way. Look, rising cost, declining yield and income for the past 25 years are forcing farmers to hold agitation. It is our intention that this social movement should convert into an economic power,” Mr. Sidhu.

He recalled that he had put up a black flag at his house in support of the agitating farmers. “Whenever they call me, I will go barefoot and take their blessings,” he added.

He also raised the issues concerning the desecration cases, power tariffs and drug menace. “Every Punjabi wants justice in ‘beadbi’ (desecration) of the Guru Sahib,” Mr. Sidhu said. He said people want to know the names of the big fish behind the drug menace.

High power tariff

“Why we have a power purchase contract at ₹18 a unit when it is available at ₹2 per unit. When we know every year, solar power rates are declining by 20%, then why Punjab pays from ₹7 to ₹18 per unit. Why should it not be bought from the national grid? We have to give answers to all these questions,” Mr. Sidhu said raising the issue of power high tariff.

He further said his party has an an 18-point agenda. “Every MLA, MP and worker is a guard of this agenda and it has to be implemented,” asserted Mr. Sidhu.

“We have no option other than this to move forward,” said Mr. Sidhu while pointing towards the 18-point agenda.

The party high command last month had asked Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to act on 18 issues, including the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib, drugs and power purchase agreements.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 4:33:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/victory-of-farmers-top-priority/article35517995.ece

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