CM Amarinder Singh urges farmers to spare Punjab, hold protests at Delhi's borders

By PTI

HOSHIARPUR: Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday urged farmers to spare Punjab from their protests against the three central farm laws and advised them to shift their sit-in venues to Delhi’s borders or in Haryana.

The Punjab chief minister’s appeal to farmers invited a quick reaction from Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij who dubbed his statement as “irresponsible”.

Singh pleaded with the farmers to shift their protest sites outside Punjab arguing that their ongoing agitation at 113 places in the state was hampering its economic development.

He urged farmers to mount pressure at the Centre from the Delhi borders or Haryana instead.

“I want to tell farmer brothers that it is your Punjab, your villages, your people. We should not disturb our Punjab. You do whatever you want to do at Delhi (borders), put pressure on them (the Centre) and make them agree,” said Singh.

“Do you know that farmers are sitting at 113 places in Punjab? What will be the gain out of it? Punjab will suffer economically. Let them do what they (farmers) are doing at Delhi (borders) and in Haryana. You (farmers) do it there,” said Singh while referring to farmers’ agitation.

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“There is no use sitting at 113 places in Punjab and weakening its financial position,” he said, hoping that farmers would accede to his request.

Ruing that farmers are still sitting at toll plazas and not allowing retail stores of some big corporates, Singh expressed hope that his request would be acceded to by the farmers.

The Punjab chief minister made this pleading to farmers while addressing a gathering in Hoshiarpur after laying the foundation stone of a government college costing Rs 13.

44 crore at Mukhliana village and asserting that Punjab needed development.

Reacting to Singh’s statement, Haryana Home Minister Vij accused him of instigating farmers.

“It is a very irresponsible statement of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to tell farmers that do whatever you want in Haryana or at Delhi borders but do not do it in Punjab,” Vij said in a tweet.

“This proves that Amarinder Singh has done the work of instigating farmers,” Vij added.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar too had last month accused the Congress government in Punjab of fuelling farmers’ unrest in his state.

While addressing the gathering, Punjab CM Singh also urged the Centre to repeal the three agriculture laws.

The chief minister also took on the Badals for initially backing the farm ordinances and later taking a U-turn on the issue after facing farmers’ ire.

Singh said it was the Congress party government which had rejected the Centre’s farm laws.

They were replaced by the state government’s farm laws which were sent to the governor but these have not yet been forwarded to the President.

Asking the Central government to shed its “stubbornness” over the issue of “black laws”, Singh said the Constitution has been amended 127 times since 1950 and asked why it could not be done 128th times.

“So why not one more time to repeal the farm laws for providing succour to the farmers who have been sitting at Singhu and Tikri borders,” he said.

Earlier, addressing the gathering at SBS Nagar, Singh hit out at the Badals for ‘double-crossing’ the farmers over the farm laws.

He accused Harsimrat Kaur Badal and former CM Parkash Singh Badal of supporting the farm ordinances.

But they changed their tune completely when their move backfired, he said.

Calling the Congress “only party which protested against these laws from the very first day”, Singh said his government had called an all-party meeting and then held consultations with the farm unions.

The Punjab government later also convened a special session of the Vidhan Sabha and passed the Bills aimed at countering these farm laws.

In the SSB Nagar district, the chief minister was addressing a gathering on the occasion of laying the foundation stone of PAU – College of Agriculture at Ballowal Saunkhri and kickstarting the academic session for 60 students who have already been admitted to the college and their classes to begin from October 1.

It would be for the first time that a college of agriculture outside the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana would come up with the BSc (Agriculture) course, the CM said.

In Hoshiarpur, the CM also announced to name this upcoming government college after Dr BR Ambedkar.