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Punjab faces political turmoil over Centre’s farm ordinances

The three farm ordinances passed by the Central Government in Punjab have launched a war of words between the leaders of the ruling Congress and the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) after all-party meeting convened by CM Captain Amarinder Singh. After the five-hour-long all-party video-conference, a resolution was passed for the withdrawal of the ordinances on agriculture.

Releasing a statement after the meeting, the Congress government in Punjab maintained that all parties, except the BJP, had jointly come to the conclusion of meeting PM Modi and Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to request them to withdraw the three “anti-farmer” ordinances.

However, responding to the statement, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal stated that his party had never agreed to meet the Prime Minister, adding that the statement has been released by the Amarinder Singh government to mislead the public. In response, the Chief Minister slammed Sukhbir Badal for misleading the public, asserting that the SAD chief had expressed his support to the resolution passed during the all-party meeting.

On Thursday, Sukhbir Badal addressed a press conference, releasing a video of his remarks at the all-party meeting in which he had expressed support to the welfare of farmers. But, he further defended certain provisions in the ordinances, claiming that they will not end the MSP regime. Hitting out at the SAD chief over his latest statement, Amarinder Singh demanded him to provide a transparent statement about his party’s stance on the resolution.

The Punjab CM has categorized the ordinances as “dangerous”, warning that it will create unprecedented crisis in the state. Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar said that the ordinances will benefit private players while exploiting the farmers. Supporting the CM’s stance on the matter, AAP Punjab unit chief and MP Bhagwant Mann also stated that the ordinance will impact farmers, arhtiyas, and small traders equally. Meanwhile, Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma refused any move to tackle the MSP regime.

Amid the political slugfest over the ordinances, farmer bodies in Punjab have decided to launch an indefinite state-wide campaign against the Centre’s move. They have termed the ordinances as “anti-farmer” and have also rejected the resolution passed during the all-party meeting. Earlier this month also, several farmers had held protests in multiple districts of Punjab against the Centre’s ordinances.

The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 was passed by the Modi government with the aim of removing inter-state trade barriers and opening the agricultural marketing outside the notified mandis for farmers.

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