Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday hit out at the Centre for its "stepmotherly treatment" of the state and questioned the Governor for not forwarding state amendment Bills to the President.
"Governor VP Singh Badnore has no role to play in this matter; he should have sent the Bills to the President by now. He is a mere post box in such matters. So, why has he not forwarded the Bills till now?" the Chief Minister asked, pointing out that the Governor was still sitting on another Bill his government submitted a year ago.
During an informal media interaction after paying respect to the Father of the Nation at the Rajghat here, Amarinder Singh lamented that President Ram Nath Kovind had declined to give him and other Punjab legislators time for a meeting they proposed to draw his attention to their grave concerns over the farm laws.
"He is the head of the nation and we wanted to tell him about the situation in Punjab and hoped that he would talk to the central government," said Amarinder Singh.
Accompanied by Congress MPs from Punjab, who alone were given permission by Delhi Police to visit Rajghat along with him, the Chief Minister said that the Centre's stepmotherly attitude towards Punjab was wrong.
"The state has not been paid GST dues since March and its constitutional guarantee of Rs 10 crore is also pending. Even the Disaster Relief Fund has been stopped by the Centre. We don't have money; our coal stocks are over," he said, asking "how can we survive in this situation?"
The Chief Minister recalled that during Manmohan Singh's tenure as the Prime Minister, he had once asked the PM why he was giving so much to the Akalis in Punjab and Dr Manmohan Singh had responded that as a leader of the central government, he had to treat everyone equally.
Amarinder Singh said he hoped the present central government will also adopt a similar approach towards all state governments.
The Chief Minister said that party MPs had sought meetings with various central Ministers on various issues like the farm Bills and suspension of goods trains.
He said he had spoken to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who had asked for a guarantee on safety of goods trains moving to and from Punjab, adding that it was not necessary since protesting farmers had agreed to allow supplies through rail wagons, except for two private plants where they were still blocking the tracks to the coal shutters.
"Why can't goods trains be allowed on other tracks," he asked.
Replying to a question, the Chief Minister said that the Akalis had indulged in a "farcical drama" over the central farm legislations to only protect their political interests. "They will be back with the BJP before the next Assembly elections in Punjab," he remarked.
Amarinder Singh later proceeded to the Jantar Mantar in central Delhi to kick-start a "relay dharna" by Punjab Congress MPs and MLAs, joined by Lok Insaf Party legislator Simranjit Singh Bains, Punjabi Ekta Party MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Shiromani Akali Dal (Democratic) MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa.
Aam Admi Party MLAs in Punjab, he said, had been "pressurised" not to join the relay dharna, as their government in Delhi had not passed the amendment Bills to protect the farmers.
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