Terming their fight against farm laws “just”, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday asked the Centre why it was not listening to farmers and was being adamant on the issue.
He asserted that his government’s would stand firmly with farmers in their fight against the black laws.
“It is the job of the government to listen to its people. If farmers are joining the agitation from so many states, then they must be really upset,” said the chief minister while interacting informally with the media during his visit to historic towns of Sultanpur Lodhi and Dera Baba Nanak.
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stand that the new laws were beneficial to farmers, the chief minister said PM Modi had been maintaining this since the beginning and it was the reason why Punjab came out with its own bills.
He questioned the governor’s decision to “sit” on those bills instead of forwarding them to the president and pointed out that he had done this even last year on a bill related to the CM”s advisors.
Underscoring out that MSP and arhtiya system was the “backbone of Punjab’s successful agricultural model, with the farmers and arhtiyas sharing a very close bond”, the chief minister questioned the need to change the established system.
“Will the corporates, who will take the place of the arhtiyas, ever care to help the farmers in times of crisis,” he asked.
Mr Singh said that Guru Sahib had attached great significance to the small farmers, who constitute the bulk of Punjab’s farming community, with 75 per cent of them holding less than five acres of land.
“It is these very farmers who would be ruined by the black agricultural laws enacted by the Union Government,” he said, adding that it was against these legislations that the farmers were currently protesting at Delhi borders, braving the harsh winter cold, the COVID-19 threat and the brutality of the Haryana police.
On the Kartarpur Corridor, the chief minister said it was time for the Centre to open it, since even Pakistan had done so. “I don’t know why the central government is not opening it,” he added.
Citing the emerging challenges of internal and external aggression, Mr Singh underlined the need for unity to counter the forces trying to divide the nation on communal lines.
The great Guru Nanak Dev had promoted the ideology of oneness of all humans, rising above petty caste and religious considerations, he said, highlighting the relevance of this message in the current times.
The chief minister visited the two towns to mark the culmination of 550th birth anniversary celebrations and the 551st Prakash Parv of the 1st Sikh Guru.