Senior Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia along with the other SAD leaders entering the Punjab Vidhan Sabha building to attend the second day of the Budget session in Chandigarh on Tuesday. (Ravi kumar/ht)
Senior Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia along with the other SAD leaders entering the Punjab Vidhan Sabha building to attend the second day of the Budget session in Chandigarh on Tuesday. (Ravi kumar/ht)

Debate on guv’s address: Cong, SAD MLAs spar over farm laws

Accuse each other of doing little to help the farmers and playing into the hands of the Centre for personal interests
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 01:51 AM IST

Chandigarh The legislators of the ruling Congress and the opposition — Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) — sparred over three central farm laws, during the debate on governor’s address on the second day of the budget session on Tuesday. They accused one another of doing little to help the farmers and playing into the hands of the Centre for personal interests.

Congress legislator Kuljit Nagra said the farmer agitation has come under international gaze only because of the Amarinder-led Punjab government prepared the ground for the agitation. “When the farmers wanted to block rail tracks, the state government did not pressure them not to do so. When they took over toll-plazas, no action was taken because our government knew that these laws will prove death warrants for the farmers,” said Nagra.

On SAD, the Congress MLA said Akalis did exactly the opposite as when the Centre promulgated the ordinances, the then Union minister, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, could not red-flag the BJP. “To date, the SAD couldn’t show anything to prove behanji’s (Harsimrat) dissent to the ordinances in the Union cabinet meeting. They all joined the agitation after entire Punjab rallied behind the farmers,” said Nagra, amid shouting by the Akali MLAs.

The SAD leader in the House, Sharanjeet Singh Dhillon, objected to Nagra’s accusation against the party. “The reality was that our alliance partner BJP ended up being dishonest. When the laws were being framed, they kept on telling us that when these laws will be passed in Parliament, they will do whatever amendments are required. But they did not and ditched us,” said Dhillon, whose statement earned strong reactions from the Congress benches.

Hayer targets Congress

AAP legislator Meet Hayer, took point of order from the deputy speaker, and said the Congress should also reply on the accusation by the Centre that chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh was the member of the high-powered group that had backed the need for these farm laws.

“SAD, BJP are equally responsible for the laws. But the Congress should also reply if Amarinder was not part of the meeting. Why your MPs did not storm the well of the House the day Union minister of state for agriculture had made a statement in the Parliament?” said Hayer. Nagra hit back by saying that the Centre has already disclosed proceedings of meetings of group of chief ministers and it’s before the public now.

“Amarinder was never part of such meetings and the media has already reported it. The AAP member should read newspapers properly before initiating a debate,” Nagra said.

Congress MLA Kushaldeep Dhillon accused the SAD of ruining the image of five-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had fought for farmer throughout his life. “Everybody knows that the SAD backed these laws for six months. In fact, the SAD leaders got so desperate to save the Union ministry of biba ji (Harsimrat) that they even pressured Parkash Singh Badal to upload a video in support of the laws,” said Dhillon.

Majithia, Gill in verbal duel

Former minister and senior Speaker Rana Kanwarpal Singh leader Bikram Singh Majithia and Congress MLA from Patti Harminder Singh Gill entered into a verbal spat in the House when the latter alleged that former’s great-grandfather Sunder Singh Majthia had supported Mahant Narain Das during the Nankana Sahib massacre in 1921.

Hitting back, Majithia alleged Gill had links with police officer Ajit Singh Sandhu, known for killing innocent Sikh youths in police encounters during militancy. Majitha also addressed Gill with some other remarks which were expunged by the speaker. Speaker Rana Kanwar Pal Singh has to repeatedly intervene to calm down both the members with requests to not get personal.

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