CHANDIGARH: Lashing out at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief for his double-speak on this issue of the Resolution passed yesterday at the all-party meeting on the farm sector Ordinances, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder on Tuesday dared Sukhbir Singh Badal to come out with a categorical statement that his party does not extend even conditional support to it.
“Are you or are you not opposed to the resolution? Are you with the resolution, either totally or conditionally? And finally, do you or do you not agree that Agriculture is a state subject and the Centre should not interfere, ” the Chief Minister asked the SAD president, repeating the clear-cut questions he had put to the latter at the end of the meeting yesterday.
Reacting to the Akalis’ and Sukhbir’s false claims on what transpired at the meeting, Captain Amarinder flayed them for misleading the people. Pointing out that the SAD chief’s explicit support on two of the three points in the resolution passed at yesterday’s all-party meeting was a matter of record, he noted that the same was duly and fairly communicated through the government statement issued after the meeting and no amount of lying could change the facts.
The fact of the matter, said the Chief Minister is that while the BJP clearly and outright opposed the resolution during voting yesterday, Sukhbir, after initially evading a direct response, interrupted him twice to clarify that “We will send you in writing also…that your two resolutions…MSP and meeting with Prime Minister for clarification…we are with you on the all-party resolution. On whether it infringes with federalism will like legal opinion.” He even went on to say that if the Ordinances are found to be against the spirit of federalism then “we are with you even on that, ” recalled Captain Amarinder.
What’s more, Sukhbir, unlike the BJP did not deny when he (Captain Amarinder) summed up by saying that “BJP-SAD partly haq vich partly haq vich nahin.” (BJP-SAD partly in favour, partly against the resolution and their objections will be recorded). All this was a matter of record, which the Akalis could not wish away simply by leaking selective videos of the meeting, said the Chief Minister.
The Akali president was evidently caught between political exigency, which required him to support the BJP for survival in the ruling coalition at the Centre, and the party’s vote-bank in Punjab, said Captain Amarinder. “It seems Sukhbir is now under pressure from his political masters in the BJP to retract his conditional support to the resolution, but is unable to do so emphatically because he does not want to lose the little support that the Akalis still have in Punjab, ” he added.
Pointing out that the people of Punjab had seen through SAD’s duplicity on more than one occasion, most recently on the CAA issue, the Chief Minister once again asked Sukhbir if he was or was not with the state and its farmers on this issue of critical importance to them. “Do you stand with the farmers? Do you think it’s ok for the Centre to take decisions on the subject of Agriculture?” asked Captain Amarinder, urging Sukhbir to take a principled stand, for once, in the interest of the people of Punjab.
The Chief Minister further pointed out that it was clarified at yesterday’s meeting itself that the three-year-old state government decisions Sukhbir was referring to with respect to marketing of agricultural produce related only to the food processing industry, contrary to what the Akalis were trying to project. In any case, he added, while the state government has the right to take any decisions on a state subject, in the interest of that sector, the central government has no right to usurp those powers, which is what these Ordinances are seeking to do.