Farmers’ suicides: AAP demands criminal case against Tota Singh

  • Harpreet Kaur, Hindustan Times, Hoshiarpur
  • Updated: Jan 01, 2016 19:12 IST

Holding Punjab agriculture minister Jathedar Tota Singh responsible for suicides by debt-ridden farmers, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has sought the registration of a case against him under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Party’s Punjab affairs incharge Sanjay Singh said here on Friday that the spurious pesticides purchased on the minister’s orders had led to the failure of cotton crop, which drove farmers to end their lives. Sanjay was here to attend a workers’ meeting in the run-up to the party’s January 14 rally at the Maghi Mela in Muktsar.

He further said: “Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and agriculture minister Tota Singh are responsible for the farmers’ plight. There was a time when Punjab’s farmers showed the way to the entire world, but now they are reeling under heavy debt. The government destroyed thousands of acres of land by supplying spurious pesticides and fertilisers.”

Sanjay also accused the state government of ruining the youth by pushing them into drugs, adding that his party would raise this issue in a big way during the 2017 assembly elections. “Cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia’s involvement in the drug trade came to the fore on several occasions, but the government did not initiate any inquiry against him for obvious reasons. The various mafias running in the state under political patronage will be exposed in the coming days,” he claimed.

Answering media queries, the AAP leader said no opposition party was worth an alliance in the state. “The Congress has a dark history, be it the 1984 riots, Operation Bluestar or various scams. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has no base in Punjab. It sold tickets in the Uttar Pradesh elections. The BJP and AAP have huge ideological differences. The saffron party thrives on hate politics. Now tell us with whom we should align?” he asked.

He claimed that after Delhi, the AAP would create history in Punjab also, adding that the Maghi Mela rally, to be addressed by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, would be the biggest ever in the state.

Replying to another question, he said his party was not averse to leaders of other parties joining it, provided they had a clean past. He claimed that former state Congress spokesperson Sukhpal Khaira’s antecedents were checked before inducting him into the party. He denied reports of BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu joining the AAP but admitted that People’s Party of Punjab chief Manpreet Singh Badal was in touch with AAP MP Bhagwant Mann.

Later, Sanjay, accompanied by AAP Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur and party leader Himmat Singh Shergill, attended a volunteers’ meet in a hotel and exhorted them to reach Muktsar in large numbers on January 14.

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