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Chandigarh, (Gurpreet) : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday expressed shock over the recent statements of senior BJP leaders, including the Union and Haryana agriculture ministers, on the deaths of protesting farmers, saying that the party had lost the moral and ethical right to continue to rule at the Centre and in the state.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre should step down in the interest of the nation, as should the ML Khattar government in Haryana, said the Chief Minister, slamming Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar’s and state agriculture minister JP Dalal’s statements on the deaths of farmers protesting against the black Farm Laws at the borders of the national capital for more than two months now.

Punjab alone has paid compensation to families of as many as 102 farmers who have died in these protests, said the Chief Minister, lashing out at Tomar over his outrageous statement citing Delhi Police information that only 2 farmers have died and one has committed suicide. Even the media has released details of more than 200 farmers (from various states) who have lost their lives in this agitation, Captain Amarinder pointed out, while also lambasting Haryana minister Dalal over the latter’s insensitive remark that farmers who have died in this agitation would have died sitting at homes anyways.

The Chief Minister also slammed the Union Agriculture Minister over his statement that the central government has no plans to provide financial assistance from the Kisan Kalyan Fund to the families of the deceased farmers. It was deplorable that a government that can spend Rs 8 crore on publicity campaign for the new Farm Laws cannot give compensation to the families of the farmers who have sacrificed their lives in fighting for their rights, he said.

These statements of Tomar and Dalal reflect a shocking lack of concern on the part of the BJP leadership towards the farmers who have been braving the elements and the lathis of Delhi and Haryana Police in their fight for survival, said Captain Amarinder.

Referring to Tomar’s claim that the Centre has no count of the deceased farmers, the Chief Minister said it was appalling that a government which claimed to be working in the interest of the farmers does not even know how many farmers had died in the protests against their Farm Laws, just as they had no idea, some months ago, on how many migrants had died in the country during the lockdown. “What kind of government is this that has no data (or so it claims) of people dying on the streets in their own country,” asked Captain Amarinder.

“Either the Agriculture Minister deliberately lied on the floor of the House or simply does not care to even ascertain the facts and figures,” said the Chief Minister, adding that this was not the first time a central minister had made a false statement in Parliament on the issue of the Farm Laws or the farmers’ agitation. Another minister had earlier stated falsely in the House that Punjab had been taken on board on the Farm Laws in its capacity as a member of the agricultural reforms committee, which was also a blatant lie, recalled Captain Amarinder, adding that not once were these legislations even mentioned in that committee, in which Punjab was included after one meeting had already taken place.

Charging the Centre with total apathy towards the farmers, as manifest in its refusal to concede their just demand and to compensate the families of the deceased, the Chief Minister said it was unfortunate that senior ministers in the Union Government like Tomar were using the august parliamentary precincts to promote the BJP’s campaign of misinformation on the Farm Laws and the farmers’ agitation. Having failed to convince the farmers with their fibs and fictions, the Union Government was now resorting to parliamentary impropriety of the highest level, in total violation of the Constitutional principles and ideologies, he added.



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