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Terming the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020, passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, a "direct and deliberate assault" by the Centre on the interests of the farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his Congress will challenge it in court.
Riding roughshod over the concerns of the farmers, the Modi government, of which the Shiromani Akali Dal is a constituent, has imposed a Central law on a state subject, thus eroding the federal structure of the country, he said.
"We will challenge it in court," he said.
Asserting that he will not allow the interests of the farmers to be compromised in this "shameless" manner, Amarinder Singh claimed the enactment of the legislation is clearly a step towards abolition of the MSP regime.
"It is a conspiracy on the part of the BJP-led NDA government to destroy Punjab and its farmers," he said, declaring that the Congress will fight this attack on the state's interests tooth and nail.
"The legislation talks of encouraging competition among farmers. Do they really expect the poor farmers, who are only competing with themselves for survival every day, to rival big corporates for protecting their interests?" he asked.
Noting that the enactment, along with the other two farm ordinances that the Centre has already tabled in the Lok Sabha, was in line with the recommendations of the Shanta Kumar committee, Amarinder Singh pointed out that the same committee had also suggested dismantling of the MSP regime.
It is evident that the NDA government is now moving towards the elimination of the MSP system, which is the lifeline of the farmers, he said, adding that the Congress will not allow the interests of the farming community to be trampled in this manner.
The very survival of the farmers is at stake, he warned.
The Chief Minister also took on SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, who was reportedly present in the House when the bill was passed by a voice vote, for failing to protect the interests of Punjab's farmers, whose messiah he claimed his party to be.
Sukhbir Badal and his SAD were clearly party to the treachery of the Union government, which has paved the way, through the passage of this bill, for taking away the rights of the farmers, who have fed the nation and given it food security for decades, he added.
"Will you quit the ruling coalition at the Centre, or will you continue to wait outside their doors for any crumbs they throw your way?" Amarinder Singh asked Sukhbir Badal, adding that the Akalis had totally and irrevocably failed their own state yet again.
Taking a dig at Sukhbir Badal's remarks that the SAD would live up to the legacy of senior party leaders who had stood with the farmers before him, the Chief Minister said the only legacy that the incumbent Akali chief was promoting was of a party that will always put its own interests over those of Punjab's people, particularly the farmers.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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First Published: Wed, September 16 2020. 06:16 IST