Highlights:

  • Punjab Assembly passed a resolution against the Centre’s three farm laws during a special session of the state assembly
  • Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu accused the Shiromani Akali Dal of the three laws
  • Farmers have been demonstrating since November 26, 2020, against the three farm laws

On Thursday, the Punjab assembly passed a resolution against the Centre’s three farm laws during a special session of the state assembly in Chandigarh. Punjab agriculture minister Randeep Singh Nabha passed the resolution that was followed by a debate flawed by four adjournments, altogether an hour after chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi passed comments against Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former revenue minister Bikram Singh Majitha.

As the debate followed, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu accused the Shiromani Akali Dal of the three laws and voiced that the beginning was made by the then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal by citing the Contract Farming Act, 2013. Sidhu demanded the abolition of the act passed during Akali- BJP government’s tenure, calling it anti-farmer.

Harpal Singh Cheema, Leader of opposition in the Assembly from Aam Aadmi Party, also blamed the Akali’s for encouraging the farm laws. He added that even after these laws were framed, SAD president Sukhbir Badal, former CM Prakash Singh Badal and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal supported the laws and only snapped ties with the BJP when farmers opposed the laws and commenced to protest.

Farmers have been demonstrating since November 26, 2020, against the three farm laws, specifically the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the (Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act,2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Farmer leaders and the Centre have held multiple rounds of discussions but the impasse remains.

On the other hand, Sidhu applauded former chief minister Amarinder Singh for initiating the Termination of Water Treaties Act in 2004 to safeguard Punjab’s interest. He further appreciated the former chief ministers on steps taken for farm debt waiver in the state. He continued that the minimum support system (MSP), Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC), and public distribution system (PDS) was introduced during the congress government tenures.

Culminating the debate on the resolution on three farm laws, chief minister Channi blamed Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia for corruption and smuggling. This resulted in a vociferous protest from Majithia and other Akali MLAs, who arrived into the well of the House, objecting to Channi’s accusations. Following a heated verbal spat evolved between Akali and Congress MLAs.

Reportedly, the house was adjourned four times to restore order. Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Deputy Speaker stretched the adjournment by 15 minutes while Akali and Congress MLAs were summoned for a separate meeting. On the other hand, Sidhu asserted that the Akali’s were deliberately creating a ruckus in the House to shield their failures on the farm laws.

After the House recommenced after almost an hour’s adjournment, Adampur Akali MLA Pawan Kumar Tinu claimed that Channi has side-tracked the attention of the House from the debate on the three-farm law and should apologise to Majithia. Successively, Harpal Cheema, Leader of opposition also cited that Channi has no right to speak ill of any MLA and questioned why the special task force report on drug smuggling had not been disclosed.

After the resolution was passed, Akali MLA carried on to protest against Channi and was rigid till he apologises. The house was adjourned thereby and the demonstrating Akali MLAs were forbidden from attending the house proceedings.

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