Navjot Singh Sidhu bats for farmers, says Punjab united against ‘black laws’
Ends year-long political hiatus to lead protest march against farm bills in Amritsar, tells Centre “you have made farmers labourers”Updated: Sep 23, 2020, 14:43 IST
Emerging from a year-long political hiatus, Punjab Congress legislator Navjot Singh Sidhu hit the ground running as he led scores of farmers on a protest march against the three farm bills in Amritsar on Wednesday afternoon.
Terming the three bills “black laws”, Sidhu said, “The Centre is talking about providing free market to farmers. But they should know the battered condition of farmers of states where there is no grain market. You have made farmers labourers.”
Dressed for the occasion in his trademark pathani suit with a black turban, Sidhu addressed the estimated 200 farmers from atop a tractor and said, “The Centre wants to forget the toil of five lakh labourers in building the infrastructure of grain markets. It has united Punjab by bringing in the black laws. The dues of employees have been increased 1,000 times, but the minimum support price (MSP) of farmers has gone up only 15 times.”
During the 20-minute march from Deen Dayal Upadhyay market at Bhandari bridge to Hall Gate Chowk, Sidhu’s popularity was on display as he sat on a red tractor attached to a trailer packed with 50 supporters, most of them farmers, who raised slogans against the BJP-led central government and waved black flags and placards. Though the march began at 12.10pm, his supporters from his Amritsar East constituency, started gathering since 11am.
TAKES DIG AT CONGRESS GOVT IN PUNJAB
“My politics is a politics of solution. I will always talk about the solution. Though you (people) can see sand mining, cable mafia, liquor vend contracts and now the farm bills, I focus on solutions and hope the people will empower me to solve problems,” he said.
This remark is being seen as against his own Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh in the state.
Sidhu has raised the issues of illegal sand mining besides the cable and liquor mafia against his own government earlier.
IS ROTI NOT AN ESSENTIAL COMMODITY?
Striking a chord with the farmers, he said the Centre had excluded foodgrain from the list of essential commodities. “Is roti (meal) not an essential commodity? Hoarders have been legalised and they will sell farmers’ produce at higher rates. The prices of food will increase. The people of Punjab should stand together in this fight. They should not let the draconian laws to be implemented,” he said.
Speaking against the electricity amendment bill, he said it will bar farmers from getting subsidies.
“I will continue supporting farmers till I’m alive,” he added.
When asked, he declined comment on the resignation of Shiromani Akali Dal Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal from the Union ministry.