Sukhbir Singh Badal calls for closing ranks for a united fight to save farmers
Chandigarh (Gurpreet)- Shiromani Akali Dal president S. Sukhbir Singh Badal today called upon all political parties and organisations to close ranks for a united fight to protect the interests of the farmers, farm labour and farm produce traders in the country, especially in Punjab. “We are ready to join or follow any struggle in the overall interests of the farmers, farm labour, Arhatiyas and other farm produce traders,” said Sukhbir Singh Badal. The SAD president who was making his first public speech after the party broke alliance with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) last night, said that the country needed to understand and empathise with the farmers and farm labour in view of the pathetic conditions in which they were living. “Anything like the new farm bills which increases the uncertainty over the fate of the farmers’ produce can have disastrous implications not only for economy but also for social stability in the country. The farmers’ economic plight affects the entire economy. Therefore what we are fighting for is to protect the country’s wider national interests,” he said. Mr Badal also reiterated his party’s firm commitment to preserving peace, communal harmony and fraternity in Punjab at all costs. “We must not flinch from the ideals of keeping our struggle for people’s rights absolutely peaceful and democratic. I must caution against attempts to defame our struggle by disturbing peace but that should only strengthen our resolve to safeguard the age-old values of Punjabi fraternity and the path of peaceful democratic struggle,” said Mr Badal He again advised CM to issue an ordinance to declare the whole state a Mandi (Principal Marketing Yard) to save farmers from 'black laws'. The SAD president was addressing large enthusiastic gatherings of party workers and farmers at Ropar, Hoshiarpur and Phagwara today, to mobilise them for October 1 Kisan March, which would commence from all three regious Takht Sahibs in Punjab and culminate at Mohali. At the conclusion of these marches, the SAD would submit a memorandum to Punjab Governor for President of India urging him not to sign the three anti-farmer bills and send back to Parliament for reconsideration. Later, talking to media persons, Mr Badal said: “SAD is essentially a farmers party. The BJP leadership wasn’t ready to heed our repeated pleas against the anti-farmer bills. Nor were they listening to our objections to the exclusion of Punjabi as official language in J and K. After that, it was meaningless to stay on . Therefore , first the party’s representative in Union Cabinet Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the cabinet and then after consulting with the people including party workers and leaders, we decided to pull out of the alliance.” Mr Badal said farmers, farm labourers and the SAD cadre held massive but totally peaceful dharnas across the state yesterday. He said, "if we stand united, we will force the Government of India to bow before farmers and repeal the three bills. These billswere passed in Parliament with sheer stubbornness after muzzling our voice." Earlier, addressing the gathering, he said, “The more the Centre would try to oppress Punjabis, the more determined we will become “ Lashing out at the Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh for his “baseless statements”, Mr Badal asked him to come out of his hiding rather than issuing petty tweets through officials. Mr Badal said that what the bills contain is exactly what the Congress party’s 2017 Vidhan Sabha and 2019 Lok Sabha election manifestos promised. “While Amarinder went back on all other promises made on oath, he fulfilled the only clause which was against the farmers and pro corporate sharks," said Mr Badal. The SAD president asked Amarinder Singh to call a special session of Assembly and repeal the state's APMC Act as implemented by the Congress govt in 2017 to favour corporate houses.