CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday said the double faced lies of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh have been exposed again, with revelations about how he gave directions for opening private ‘mandis’ beyond the scope of APMC mandis in the state’s Covid Response Report in September.
In a statement here, former minister Daljit Singh Cheema said it was shocking that at a time when Punjabis were combating the scourge of Covid-19, the Chief Minister was working as per the agenda dictated to him by the BJP-led Central government as well as the corporate sector.
He said the Covid Response Report had been forwarded to various departments for action and included a section calling for the need to open agricultural marketing beyond the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs).
“There can be no bigger betrayal of the farmers of the state,” Cheema said while asking the Chief Minister to come clean and tell Punjabis why he directed the Chief Secretary to open the ‘mandis’ outside the purview of the APMC.
“Let’s see you explain this perfidy,” the SAD leader said adding that Amarinder Singh had lost the moral authority to lead Punjab due to his regular and continuous betrayal of the cause of the Punjab farmers.
Asking the Chief Minister not to play a double game, Cheema said the former should know that he was the first to weaken the case of the Punjab farmer by reframing the APMC Act by making four amendments in it immediately after forming the government in 2017.
“These amendments were in tune with the subsequent agricultural Ordinances and the three agricultural marketing Acts which were pushed through in the last Parliamentary session.”
He said this was not all. “You even pushed for private ‘mandis’ and privatization of agriculture by forming the Montek Singh Ahluwalia committee which supported the three agricultural Ordinances. This is the reason why your government actively participated in the process of finalizing the agricultural Acts.”
Asking the Chief Minister to explain his conduct vis-a-vis the new revelations which had exposed his government thoroughly even as his past anti-APMC record was there for all to see, Cheema said “no amount of shedding of crocodile tears for the cause of farmers can take away the fact that you have landed them in this trouble.”
“You and your party stand for abolition of APMC mandis and this fact was also recorded in your party’s election manifesto for the 2019 parliamentary election. It would be better if you accept this instead of beating about the bush and trying to malign others,” Cheema added.