For once, the various political parties in Punjab have found a common cause to lambast the Narendra Modi government at the Centre for dragging its feet on implementing the Swaminathan Committee report for fixing the minimum support price for various crops.
Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for ditching the farmers on the issue of implementation of the committee report.
Bajwa referred to the affidavit submitted by the Modi government in the Supreme Court pleading that it would not be possible to enhance the minimum support price by ensuring at least 50% profit to the farmers over and above the cost of production.
Bajwa said the Centre had hit the very foundation of farm economy by taking the stand that the MSP was not an income policy.
"All along in the election campaign, you have been misleading the farmers into believing that once the BJP came into power, the MSP would be fixed on the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee report. People have the right to ask whether the Modi government consulted union minister for food processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal on the vital policy issue which concerns farmers not only in Punjab but in the entire country," Bajwa said.
SAD MP Prem Singh Chandumajra held a press conference to say that the party would vigorously take up with the Centre the implementation of the committee recommendations. Chandumajra, who is also the SAD general secretary, said implementing the report was the promise made by the BJP in its 2014 manifesto for the Lok Sabha election.
Chandumajra said the Akali Dal would mobilise all party support on this issue and the first step in this direction would be the setting up of All Party Farmers' Forum of Parliamentarians.
People's Party of Punjab chief Manpreet Singh Badal said Badal had the image of the champion of the farmers and the messiah now must make a forceful intervention with the government at the Centre in which the SAD was the partner.
He urged the chief minister to make "at least one positive contribution" to the economy by convincing his own government of the need to consider the plight of the farmers and get the committee recommendations implemented.
He said the promises made by the political parties should not be just to sell dreams to the people to get votes but they should also be implemented.