Punjab CM denies being onboard with farm ordinance

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh

Categorically rejecting the Centre’s claim that Punjab was taken onboard before the promulgation of the farm sector ordinances presented in Parliament on Monday, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh urged the Prime Minister not to go ahead with their legislation and also announced that he will lead an 11-member delegation of his party on Wednesday to submit a memorandum to the Governor against the ordinances.

Besides the Chief Minister,the delegation will include Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar along with some ministers and MLAs of the party, an official spokesperson said. The decision to meet the Governor came after the BJP-led central government presented the three ordinances in Parliament for legislation despite strong protests by farmers in various states.

The CM also wrote a letter to PM Modi requesting him not to pursue the ordinances and also to make MSP a statutory right of the farmers. He urged the Prime Minister to favourably consider farmer’s request and not to go ahead with the ordinances, saying that these are not in the interest of the farmers.

Meanwhile, asserting that his government had been consistently opposing the so-called reforms brought in by the ordinances, the Chief Minister said, in a statement, that at no point did Punjab endorse any such move, contrary to what was being projected by the central government. In fact, the ordinances were not discussed even once at the sole meeting of the high- powered committee held after Punjab was made a member, he added.

Reacting to the statement made in Parliament on Monday by Union Minister of State for consumer affairs, food and public distribution, Raosaheb Patil Danve, that the committee on agriculture had decided on the ordinances after due consideration by all member states, Captain Amarinder termed it as irresponsible since Punjab never supported any such move, nor was it consulted before the promulgation of the ordinances.

Pointing out that Punjab was initially excluded from the committee set up by the central government in July 2019, the Chief Minister said it was only after the state government protested that it was
included, in August 2019. By that time, the committee had already held its first meeting. At the second meeting, on 16 August, 2019, Finance Minister Manpreet Badal had represented Punjab, and only certain fiscal issues related to Agriculture were discussed. The ordinances or their provisions did not come up at all for discussion at that meeting, according to Manpreet.

Subsequently, a meeting of the Agriculture Secretaries of the member states was held on 3 September, 2019, at which Punjab had taken a strong stand against any dilution of APMC Act.