Sunday 27 September 2020

CANNOT ACCEPT ANYTHING AGAINST THE FARMERS’ INTERESTS: SUKHBIR BADAL

- Posted on 15 September 2020

 Chandigarh September 15 – The Shiromani Akali Dal today opposed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020, saying that as a party of the farmers , it  cannot support anything which goes against the interest of her ‘annadaata’ in the country, especially in Punjab.  

” SAD is essentially an  organisation of farmers. Every Akali is a farmer and every farmer is an Akali at heart. The party has always championed the cause of the farmers and has made supreme sacrifices to safeguard their interests. That legacy can not and will not  be compromised  or diluted, no matter what price we have to pay,”  Badal thundered in the Lok Sabha.

In a crisp, focused and sharp speech lasting  under ten minutes, Badal said the government erred grievously in not taking stake holders – farmers and their organisations – on board. Stating that the SAD was not consulted before the Ordinances were framed, Badal said “ever since the Ordinances were issued,   we have been asking the Government not to press with it and not to bring this bill. But our  voice was not heeded to”.

He said that when these Ordiances were being discussed in the cabinet, the party’s repsresentative Harsimrat Kaur Badal had raised objections and voiced the concerns of the farmers and requested that the Ordinances be put off. But the Ordinances were still issued. We had hoped then that the government will correct the mistake when a Bill on these  would be  introduced. But that has not happened.” 

The SAD president effectively voiced  the sentiments of all the farmers saying that Punjab will be the worst affected by the effect of these Ordinances and the Bill to convert these into an  Act . “Punjab and Haryana have built best marketing infrastructure from their own resources. We will be the worst affected if the assured marketing of farmers’ produce at MSP is endangered.”

 Badal articulated the popular reaction to these Bills with   an anecdotal reference to his meeting with a farmer. “I asked  a farmer why he was   opposed to these  Ordinances.  He compared these  Ordinances with Jio  initiative.  Farmers fear the Bills will lead to monopolisation by multinationals. “Just like Jio finished competition and then increased rates, similarly farmers feel multinationals will exploit them once they have control over the foodgrain procurement market”.

Reciting his party’s long history of struggles for farmers’ interests, he said Akali patriarch Parkash Singh Badal  had spent 16 years in jail and one of the main reasons for that was that he always  fought for the farmers’ cause. “The country has produced three great Kisan leaders – Parkash Singh Badal, Chaudhary Charan Singh and Chaudhary Devi Lal. The SAD therefore  has to live up to live up to the legacy of Badal.” 

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